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Friday, 18 October 2013

Chapter 20 - A story about Port and Ruggers with the chaps

I said last week that I may have forgotten something and it turns out that (in my “eagerness” to start ironing) I actually forgot a rather massive (and crucial) plot point. I walked home from Si’s birthday party that night (distances don’t seem to matter after having a drink) and had a lovely time on my slow (thanks to being inable to walk in a straight line) walk home. It was my thinking time. It was a chance for me to ponder life’s big questions (like who decided that blue and black were the appropriate coloured office pens and why are yellow high – Vis jackets more widely used than say orange) and to provide Wifey regular updates as to when I’d be home (as she was waiting up to let me in). 

On my (somewhat flukey) arrival at my sister’s and brother in law’s house I rang Wifey to let me in. There was no answer. I text her (admittedly something probably looking like “whake yp. I’n hear xx”) – but there was no response. People walked passed the house and chuckled at the sight of a suited up man pressing his face into the window (there may or may not have been a window kiss attempted – but no mooning) to try and get his wife’s attention. But all to no avail. My Wife had fallen asleep – and friends once that has happened, waking her up is a real issue.

But I was stuck for options. With the twins asleep, I couldn’t attempt my normal tactic of making as much noise as humanly possible. There was no dog to wake up to make noise either. I kept trying to contact Wifey (I dread to think how many texts she woke up to) but after 45 minutes passed I started to plan the most comfortable position to sleep outside the front door. Just before I settled down though, I made a quick call to my Brother In Law – Sam. Amazingly, he picked up and sheepishly came downstairs to let me in. “I didn’t hear my phone” said Cass in a kind of stating the obvious moment. “It’s ok” I said, as I half took off my clothes before passing out………..

So anyway. Here we are and friends - I’ve had a good week. I’m ten days into Detoxtober (at the time of writing) and I’ve gone one step further than just “No Booze” in the fact that I have also ditched all caffeine and fizzy drinks (bar sparkling water). Do I feel better? No. But I didn’t feel bad in the first place if I’m honest – I just thought it would be a good idea to do.
The last time I gave up booze for a substantial period of time was when I was 19. I did it for a month and actually found it quite refreshing (towards the end), so we will see at the end of my 25 day stint this time (we’re going away on the 25th) how I feel (Wifey has forgotten that I’m detoxing and has just text me saying that she has got me a bottle of my favourite wine – but I WILL be strong!).
But for all of you doing Stoptober this month (Dan & Silky for example) I wish you all the best. I know how hard it is (and I’m sure that the story behind that will come up at some point). But incidentally dear readers - if you do know someone doing Stoptober this month – support them and love them through it. Don’t be on their case if they fail – and above all else - do not try and pretend that you know what they are going through if you don’t understand it – for as much as your heart might be in the right place……it just isn’t very helpful.

But what else has been going on since the Birthday Party? Here are a few highlights for you……

I spent a fantastic afternoon with Christine and baby Ameila, I’ve spent some time with the twins, Marlow Wolves won the Britbowl, Sp*rs lost to West Ham and I’ve probably done loads of other stuff as well – but something that I did want to mention was an afternoon that I hung out with my friend Neil Fix

Neil is a vegetarian. Not that being a vegetarian defines a person. But he is. He is also one of the most thoughtful and caring people ever. He is calm and takes time to process things whilst he also has a habit of saying profoundly accurate things (and normally in a way which catches you completely off guard). Neil writes a great blog and you can check out the great facebook page he started here (featuring loads of amazing blogs).

A couple of weeks ago I met up with Neil to look at the future of Seek His Face and to see how he could get involved further. What followed though was just a few hours of chatting, laughing and him mocking me over some of the events of 10 Resolutions so far. Obviously we spoke about Seek, but we also spoke about so many other things. It was just really good fun and yet another example of someone that I really enjoy just spending time with.

The weekend after meeting up with Neil, I found my suit, prepared the duct tape, brushed up on the rules of Ruggers and packed the cigars – all for Chris Banwell’s stag do. And this my friends I’m pleased to say was a stag do of epic discoveries…….. (Albeit very simple ones)
  1. The combination of Beer and Cider (and then red wine) might well taste nice during consumption but the results and after effects are questionable.
  2. Initially I thought that I didn’t understand Ruggers but it turns out that I do understand Rugby, I just don’t enjoy it. At all. I love the atmosphere and I can even see why some people like it….but I’ll stick to football thankyou very much. 
  3. Even after a “small” amount of booze – I can still shoot an air rifle (somewhat worrying although FYI -  not quite as worrying as being allowed to shoot live ammunition from AK’s in Latvia after one or two beers beforehand). 
  4. Ed Smith is one of the most amazing people I have ever spent time with.
I met Ed Smith at New Wine a number of years ago and he is someone that (in my head) I’ve always associated with Chris Banwell. Every single time I speak to Ed I learn something new. Sometimes about me, sometimes about the world around me or my faith – but when I say this – you need to understand that I really am speaking here about every single time. Not occasionally. And by saying this I don’t mean that Ed spouts of hundreds of useless facts at me (FYI did you know that the average handbag has more bacteria contained in it than a toilet?). Ed has an amazing ability to “observe and report”. To see you, or to look at something and to see how it works. What this basically means is that it is useless trying to put on a “front” around Ed because he will break you down (without even intending to) in a matter of seconds (as he did to me without realising on the night of the stag do). He is an amazing man who will go out of his way to support and encourage you – and I’m honoured to be able to call him my friend.

I finished the night by requisitioning a bottle of Port. Now I’d like to say that I drank it the next night, or even that evening - but in fact I didn’t. I brought it for breakfast for all of the Groomsmen and Chris’s family on the wedding day the week after……With a cheeky smile I tried to convince everyone that Port with Breakfast was a natural thing for weddings. Bizarrely enough, no one went along with my plan…….The wedding however was an amazing and beautiful day. But we will get to that in a minute.

The night before the wedding, Cass and I hightailed it down to the land of Cornwall (I even did a bit of driving!) from Gloucester via a couple of service stations and what felt like the longest straight road ever. We had treated ourselves to (what we hoped) was a beautiful hotel on the coast but unfortunately by the time we actually got there it was to dark to see anything (my “minor” SatNav error didn’t help either). But the next day we woke up to some amazing views and a stunning breakfast. After breathing a sigh of relief (and then panicking due to Cornwall’s lack of network coverage), we left to find the Church (which unsurprisingly was not where SatNav said it should be).
I love weddings. That should be blindingly obvious by now – and this wedding was no exception. It was absolutely amazing (bar the weather). The service was beautiful, the food was stunning, the people made me smile and I don’t think that there was a dry eye in the venue when Danutia gave her speech. Captivating, engaging and heart wrenching – I think I’ve been privileged enough to go to about 150 weddings in my life and I can safely say that Danutia’s was one of the best speeches. It was an honour to be part of it and Cass and I both had an amazing time (as everyone else probably did - until I started Djing…..)
But let me introduce you to some people:

Sophie and Jamie Barnett
Sophie and Jamie are both members of the Fal-Collective and were also part of my band for Rivercamp. They are recently married and I don’t think they would moan at me too much for saying that they are both a bit quirky (which definitely isn’t a bad thing). They are both astoundingly good musicians and both possess amazing servant hearts (to the level of forgetting about their own preservation at times!). Jamie has the ability to just bring warmth into a conversation (despite having a pet snake) and Sophie encourages those around her to push forward. They are great to spend time with – and you can see more of them (and please do) by checking out their brand spanking new VLOG (and no, I didn’t know what one was before now either).

Jamie Martin
Let’s get this out of the way first - Jamie is an amazing guitarist. I’m lucky to play with a few of them, and he is definitely a great addition to the fold. But he is also so much more than that. Jamie is funny, occasionally completely oblivious to the world around him, a man of great faith, a joker and a great friend. He is also a massive fan of Bacon (and let’s face it, apart from Veggie people - who isn’t!?

James Moffitt
James is yet another fantastic musician (as part of the Fal Collective) but is he also a brilliant artist and did the Graphic Novel part of the artwork for the album. He’s got a great personality and cares deeply for those around him. He also made me cry a few weeks ago when I received in the post all of his artwork sketches for the album and lots more besides. It was an amazing gesture (and something that I would never think of) – and certainly not one that I’ll be forgetting in a while as it was so thoughtful. James is also in possession of the strangest accent in the world. A mix of Northern and Cornish….

Ben Jenkin
Once upon a time Ben was in my youth group at Trinity in Cheltenham. He won’t mind me saying that he was an absolute nightmare. And because of that - It’s also fair to say that I saw an awful lot of myself in him. But when I left Trinity, we lost touch - so imagine my surprise when I came across Ben again in Falmouth. Ben is smart, caring, funny, an instigator of mischief and has a personality that allows others to relax around him. He is also (and I’m not sure if he has realised this yet) a leader and someone who can get things done. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Ben – and getting to know him (again).

Anna Mason
Anna is one of my favourite people to hang out with in the whole world. It’s quite simple. She makes me laugh (and can laugh at herself), she’s completely mischievous, she thinks externally, she genuinely cares about others and is probably too hard on herself at times. For some reason - she also occasionally comes to me for advice about men - which is scary (especially considering how some of my relationships before Cass ended). I find hanging out with Anna to be really refreshing, so I was really happy that she was on our table at the wedding.

Ruth Duckworth
You would be hard pushed to find anyone that cares more for those around her than Ruth. Her heart is simply massive and it constantly astounds me how much she cares or how compassionate she is. But alongside that, she is also a massive encourager and even in the hardest moments of writing 10 Resolutions she has been there alongside me, encouraging me to push forward. She’s an amazing woman and I know that I am a better person from knowing her and seeing the example that she sets.

So there you have it – and you are pretty much up to date. We had an amazing Seek the other night, I’m just about to start working on Matt’s EP, I’m off to lead in Wycombe at the weekend and I’m 6 anxious weeks away from being 30. I still have the feeling that something exciting is brewing, it’s just that I don’t know what that is yet. Hopefully it will come into sight soon though…..
I did want to finish just by mentioning one other conversation that I’ve had this week – and that was with Flik who brought it to my attention (albeit through laughing at me extensively) that an awful lot of my stories involve booze. Which on reflection – is a completely fair point (just see the start of this chapter), and something that I hadn’t really thought about (although maybe subconsciously I had – hence Detoxtober) until now. So I’m sorry everyone (I think?) and to make up for it – let’s have a party! (Joke). I’ll balance you out in the next chapter with a story that VERY few people know from my childhood.

Please send in any questions you may have via the Facebook page, the comments section, Twitter or email and please remember to subscribe via the big white box at the top……

Oh – and I’ve only got a tiny number of limited edition albums left so please get yourself a copy (if you get one now you’ll get a special present)

Have fun, keep safe and God Bless. Until next time

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