After a weekend away at Greenbelt I am now massively behind with blogging, reading blogs, sending emails etc. I've got about three blog posts waiting to be written, so here's the first:
My drive over to Greenbelt, on Cheltenham racecourse, consisted of torrential downpours, interspersed with murky grey daylight, which wasn't the greatest encouragement to get there and get my tent up. The first night was fairly, erm, wet, but when I left my tent on the Saturday morning, I discovered the sun breaking through the clouds (this is after lying in my sleeping bag for about an hour wondering if the rain would stop for long enough for me to go to the portaloos).
The site really is beautiful (in the sun), with the hills round the edge. This photo was taken from the race course grandstand, which has breathtaking views right from the top.
This year I was camping with Rebeltreble, a friend from church and knitting group, and a crowd of other people. It was her birthday on the Saturday, which, of course, meant chocolate cake for breakfast.
This time too I did more of a variety of things. I went to various talks:
[I've linked to downloads of the talks, although you have to pay for them].
This one was my favourite, Janet Soskice talking about "The magnificent lady Bible hunters: sisters of Sinai", probably because it was fun as well as interesting. It was all about twin sisters who, in 1892, did lots of things that nineteenth century women weren't supposed to do, including setting off into the desert and discovering some Bible manuscripts at St Catherine's monastery at Sinai. I'll be getting her book about them to read. She also spoke about Bible translation in a debate, which I missed, but which I'll be downloading.
I also heard Billy Bragg on "The rich get richer and the poor get prison", about how to stop the cycle of reoffending once someone is released from prison. This was also fun though, as it featured someone his charity has helped singing as well.
And, in one of the earlier talks, which I didn't think I'd be up in time to hear, Brian McLaren on "How Christians could destroy the world in five minutes (and how to make sure we don't)", which was about Christian theology in relation to Israel and Palestine. OK, so definitely not a fun topic, but definitely an interesting one, and I hope something comes out of it.
Plus, most of a debate in the Kitchen venue, about "Taking it to the streets", about the rights and wrongs of people taking direct action, which I can't find a link to at the moment.
I also joined in with some worship. Not only the Sunday morning Communion with 15000 other people (quite hard to photo)
but also a more meditative/reflective service with the Moot community from London.
Taught loads of people to knit at the Woolly Thinking group, where we made knitted graffiti to use on the site:
Oh, and the usual obligatory Greenbelt things, like bumping into all sorts of people from different parts of my life, including MrsNiddyNoddy, the vicar (and wife), my baby bro and SIL, a friend's baby I met for the first time, somebody I went to university with 10 years ago...
Much cake was eaten, and tea drunk.
I also spent some time in G-source, looking at lots of church resources, and picked up a funky tea towel.
Had a chat with Reg Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Mother's Union (the one who did the report about the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood). They had a gadget on display for improving hygiene in developing countries - yes, it's a funky handwashing/soap-on-a-rope device:
(I am still struggling with the idea that the Chief Executive of the Mother's Union is a bloke called Reg. But I mustn't be sexist).
And viewed an exhibition of modern art from the Methodist church: "Jesus in the everyday".
I think that's everything I did? It was quite a busy weekend...
I've still got posts to do on books and garden at the beginning of the month, but I'm away most of this week at a conference so not sure when that will happen!