The highlight of the month was the mass procession of the farewell to Jonathan-or-Andy-? party, going all the way from Jesmond to Central Station in the middle of the night. There was also the long-awaited to-do item finally getting ticked off that night. Some people make me feel really heavy and depressed. But this bunch often makes me feel like I’m back to those school days, whimsical, feeling grown-up but childlike, young and sweet.
Cragside Weekend Away
The World Cup is in full swing. We have no TV at home so we are largely unaffected. But even if we did have a TV, it has been a pretty full month in many ways and we wouldn’t have had time to watch football (not that we’re in the slightest bit interested either). For one thing, preparing for Cragside Weekend Away used up almost all my time and brain power. This is what I wrote same time last year:
I thought we could have a break after the deadline of the magazine (JOURNEY) but actually we spent the whole month preparing for Cragside Weekend Away. The month fast forwarded itself in a hectic blur and almost everything existed for the single purpose of that last weekend of June. The weekend was the mixed ingredients of: gorgeous weather, splendid nature, clever architecture and engineering, good friends and good fun, satisfying food, and quality time to know God more – a miniature heaven on earth. It was only a weekend but it was worth the effort and the preparation of the whole month. If you apply the same logic and analogy, the age to come (which is far greater than a happy weekend) will worth the effort and preparation of our whole Christian life!
It describes this month perfectly. I don’t need to change a word. Here are some photos:
Photos, top to bottom, left to right:
- Five sessions with talks and discussions on the topic of work.
- Discussion time next to the lake on Saturday morning before any tourists arrived (also Saturday evening after all tourists left, but midges were a nuisance!).
- Dinner around the table.
- Lunch in the courtyard and get sunburn. Sunglasses and sun cream featured a lot this weekend.
- The traditional game of JPCi called Ninja. The winner was Nathan.
- Watching French beating Argentina in despair.
- A woodland walk with a Trim Trail competition.
- My chopping and hers: My superb helper, Gloria, chopping and arranging vegetables.
- The happy crew on Sunday morning.
- There is EVEN kayaking!!! (photo by Kristen)
Books and Magazines
City Lives is the best book I read this month. Highly recommended. For why I think so highly of it, read my review here.
JOURNEY magazine has ended at issue six for now. The latest publication is the Five Italian Evangelical Leaders by Ben Cadoux-Hudson. JOURNEY will continue online. I will start working on that (and bothering all my potential contributors) after the Cragside Weekend Away. Watch this space.
I got quite a few indie magazines this month. Popshot Quarterly is a good literature magazine with short fictions and poems etc. The last one I bought left a weird and wonderful impression on me so I was happy to buy it again. I have been wanting to get my hand on a Positive News for a while. The idea is great. But I do find it interesting – how does the editor decide what news is actually positive? How does she define what kind of movement and progress in the society is positive? Cereal is such a beautiful piece of artwork. Just feel the front cover, you’ll know what I mean. But it is indeed an artwork – it’s so heavy and I was so worried about messing the pages up, I couldn’t read it in bed at all. Andy brought Flow and Crumble from MagCulture in London. Crumble is an interesting “non-architecture” magazine that looks at social issues through the lens of the architecture. It’s based in Edinburgh, won Stack Student Magazine of the Year 2017 and it’s available in Tate Modern!
I haven’t done any big clearing out for a long time and I was in a clearing-things-out mood this month after watching a few “capsule wardrobe” videos. Although De-Clutter and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up about “minimalist living” and “letting go” were effective in making me want to get rid of stuff, its reasoning of how to clear unnecessary things out was not helpful. For example, I don’t like my drawers and underbed storage full of old and rarely touched clothes, but I don’t like the idea of throwing everything out ruthlessly just for the sake of it either. A few videos about capsule wardrobe, body shapes and (boycott) fast fashion helped. Also a tip of mine: I managed to throw out a lot more items when I was in a bad mood. You can try it too!
It’s summer and it was actually pretty hot for a few days! It feels like everybody is traveling, either in Iceland, Bali or Spain. Our holiday dream to Europe only lasted a few days until I checked the price and available appointments for a visa and the bubble burst. No Amsterdam, no Berlin, no Prague. But we have the good old Lake District (£@$#&!!!). So I’m actually going to the same part of the Lakes twice in two weeks, staying even in the same Youth Hostel!
Misc of Misc
I did a not-bringing-phone-to-bed experiment this month. The purpose is to put my head on pillows earlier and to use my before-bedtime for reading. It’s still early days. I’ll have to update on this in coming months.
Looking forward to July and some good rest in gorgeous weather!
Last of all, what a wonderful service I missed tonight!