Catching Up

It’s been a whole month since I last updated you with what’s what, so here’s where we are up to on the Mushy Cloud.

As you might know, I have just finished a four-week placement at another church prior to my BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel – selection panel to be a candidate for ordination training) and I am back at my own church this week. The placement itself was a fantastic experience and I met lots of lovely people, as well as learning more about my vocation and what God is calling me to do. I also had a very different experience of how to “do” church and that’s something that I will be reflecting on between now and my BAP.

I was straight back into my own parish ministry on Monday morning at our annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic with the little ones at Stay and Play. We said goodbye to 8 children as they move on up to “big school” in September and we are looking forward to seeing some new families in September when we get back.

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Last Thursday (a slight overlap with my placement and today’s ministry) I met a lovely family who were preparing for the funeral of their beloved Gran and Mum, Jean. We talked a lot about what family meant to her and I was moved to hear their stories of her life and how she treated people with love. It was Jean’s funeral today and I contributed the prayers during the service, as well as accompanying the vicar at the graveside. I had one of those lovely moments where my online life met my “real” life, and I met one of my blog friends at the funeral. He introduced himself at the end of the service, and it was absolutely fantastic to meet him in person – hello Andy!!

We are heading off in the wobbly box next week for a few days away in the Lake District. It has been a long twelve months since we were last on holiday and we can’t quite manage the full two weeks this year, but the few days we are going to be away are going to be a very welcome tonic after the hectic (and sometimes frantic) things we have been working through as a family recently. No doubt there will be photographs and updates while we are there, including – I hope – a series of sunset and sunrise shots from the top of Hardknott Pass. Please pray for good weather for that overnight expedition for us. I’m not bothered about having good weather for the rest of it – tea tastes as good under canvas as it does in the open air when it is drunk out of a tin mug – but for the night we decide to do the photography on top of the world it would be nice to have some clear skies so we can see the sun come up properly.

A couple of weeks ago I received a delightful postcard from my blog friend Mary in the USA. It showed a photograph of Niagara Falls and it reminded me of the trip I went on with North Music Centre in September 1987 to the same place. We played an afternoon concert on a bandstand in the park at the top of the falls and I remember the spray from the water managed to wet our music even from that distance away. We also had a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls, which is also depicted on Mary’s postcard. Thank you for the card Mary and thank you for the fabulous reminder of what a wonderful, natural world we live in.

In other news, I am trying to write a computer program that will help with crochet design so am on a crash course of learning coding (my head hurts) and how to apply maths and logarithms to what is essentially a textile art form. Not easy and anyone with any experience who can do this thing for me I will gladly talk to and get help from. I have also been trying to hone my writing discipline because since my degree I have gotten out of the habit of writing every day. I have started to keep “morning pages” and even in the short while I have been doing it I have seen an improvement in my word-craft.

That’s about it for now as I can hear my crochet hook calling me. Here is a picture of a bee I have designed. He doesn’t have a face yet as I’m not sure I like him to have a black or a yellow face. What do you think? The wings are still in the prototype stages too and so haven’t been attached yet. Sigh. A work in progress indeed.

My faceless bees – which is better? The one with the black end or the yellow end? The wings are still a bit dodgy too…

That’s all for now. Until next time, cheerio.



A Day of Two Halves

It’s been a day of two halves today, literally poles apart. The day began beautifully with bright sunshine and some big fluffy clouds in the sky which was a godsend to us as we packed up to move on to the next stage in our holiday. As anyone who has ever been camping knows, it’s rotten to set up or strike camp in the wind and the rain as canvas tends to act as sails making folding tents a nightmare. We were fortunate this morning that the weather was in our favour.

But then we set off and things quickly changed. My dad developed an electrical problem on his car, which meant that he didn’t have a connection to his nearside indicator on his caravan. We usually lead and dad usually follows us, but because of this problem we went behind today because at least we knew where he was heading and the chances of annoying other motorists were reduced if it was us behind him.

If we hadn’t done that then what happened next might not have been quite so catastrophic…

We crossed the border into Scotland, and we met Weather with a capital “W”.

And unbeknown to us at this point we were developing our own mechanical fault of our own. We stopped for lunch at a service station and it was pouring down with rain so didn’t stop long, but when we set off again it was like armageddon out there.

We had a slight argument with the satnav as we wanted to follow the road signs to the Forth Bridge but Tom wanted to take us through Edinburgh City. Erm, no Tom, not a great idea when towing a couple of caravans in convoy, one of which can’t indicate left.
So we found ourselves on the M9 (which I thought was the M90) going round a huge left hand bend coming onto the main carriageway when we heard a big bang, and then a grinding noise from behind us. The car felt like we were dragging a dead weight behind us and so we pulled over onto the hard shoulder. We were just about at the end of the bit where we could have pulled over because there was another slip road coming in to our left. Not the best or the safest place to have an emergency stop!!

Still pouring down with torrential rain, the three of us got out to check what had happened and oh boy…

The nearside wheel had come OFF the van, breaking the wheel arch in the process and leaving the hub dragging into the tarmac. All four wheel bolts had come off (how, HOW?!?!) and the tyre had shredded inside the archway, giving off plumes of burnt rubber smoke inside and outside the van.

We rang for the RAC, but as the problem was the caravan and not the car, they told us they might not be able to help but would get someone to us within an hour. They told us to wait by the side of the carriageway away from the car. The weather was appalling and we got very wet very quickly, but we were “rescued” by two men in a BEAR Scotland truck after about 20 minutes.

They weren’t supposed to help us, but they were fantastic and got the caravan jacked up for us so we could get the weight off the hub. While they were doing that we saw that the bolt holes in the wheel had all become enlarged, possibly as the bolts had worked themselves loose, rendering the wheel useless.

Kevin had an amazing light bulb moment when he realised that as the car had 4 safety bolts on the wheels, we were carrying the extra “spare” ones, which we could use to attach the spare wheel. Hurrah!!  Problem solved!!

Looking forward to getting warm and dry and on the move again, once the spare wheel was attached with the spare wheel bolts, we got on with the job of rehitching the van,  lowering the legs, upping the jockey wheel and restarting the engine.

Only to find that the battery was dead because we’d followed the RAC ‘s instructions to leave the hazard warning lights on and the side lights on. Very embarrassing to have to ask the BEAR men to give us a jump start as well. Oops!

Those men were fantastic and really
helped us out, and although their advice to “get on a plane somewhere hot next time” might not be taken up, they were brilliant with us throughout it all.

Finally back on the road and we eventually found the campsite, getting the whole party back together again. Obviously, being stranded on a motorway, dad couldn’t stop to help us and had to carry on without us.

So here we are at the end of a difficult and very different day. What started out as beautiful weather, gorgeous driving conditions and a calm and peaceful camping party has turned out to be very very wet, dangerous, difficult and stressful journey and tetchy (!) campers at the end.

It is still torrential rain out there and we have not got a dry coat between us after the debacle on the road and setting up in the torrent, but we have had a great time in our awning this evening playing cards, telling daft jokes and having a sing song.

It’s great this camping lark isn’t it??!


Daybook Entry – 2nd June




Outside my window…darkness and drizzle….and a loaded caravan waiting on the drive for us to go away in tomorrow!

I am thinking…about the clothes that still need to be dried for tomorrow, how much of the Jubilee we’ll be missing tomorrow as we travel, whether I should renew my library books tonight or leave it to chance next weekend, how things will go at the service at church tomorrow (I’m in charge of the music and we will be baptising four children), have I got everything together that we need for our week’s holiday….you get the idea?!

I am thankful…for my gift of music

In the kitchen…I cooked chicken and peppers in my own sauce (delish!) and we had that with pitta breads, potato skins and mushrooms.

I am wearing…white vest top and grey pj bottoms

I am creating…still struggling with the blanket for Ethan. I’ve messed up my measurements and calculations somewhere and there is some undoing to do. I’m taking it with me in the caravan next week so hopefully I’ll be able to make progress on it.

I am going…camping tomorrow (did I mention that??!)

I am wondering…what the weather will be like while we are away. Although, to be honest I don’t really care what the weather is going to be like because we’ll have a great time whether the weather is fine or not. We just do the same things with different coats on that’s all!

I am reading… “The Invisible Ones” by Stef Penney. It’s the story of a private investigator on the trail of a missing gypsy girl and it is told from two view points – one is from Ray, the investigator and the other is JJ, a gypsy in the family of the girl who is missing. It’s a slowly unfolding story and even though I’m about a third of the way through I’m not sure that I care enough about the characters yet to want to know what happens to them. I’ll keep going though because it’s easy reading and has it’s own pace which is enough to keep me interested for now.

I am hoping…Ethan gets better soon. He’s been struggling this week with his asthma, which is unheard of in warm weather for him. He has got a chesty cough and a crackly ear so I just hope that it’s not an infection of any kind and that he will enjoy his week away with us next week.

I am looking forward to…being away from home in the fresh air for a week.

I am learning…not to be over-reactionary when a particular friend lets me down.

Around the is utter chaos – clothes half dried, clothes and equipment half packed, pots half washed….it’s home!

I am pondering…whether to try and do a photo-blog next week or whether to try and stick with words. Or to have a holiday altogether and start afresh next Saturday/Sunday when we get back.

A favourite quote for today… “Mum, is three pairs of underpants enough for next week?” from Ethan, my 13 year old son.

One of my favourite things…is loading our caravan when we are about to go on holiday

A few plans for the rest of the week: I’m going to read (Kindle already packed), write (notebooks and story prompt book packed), play Monopoly with my son (already packed), walk, eat, sleep, listen to music (can’t wait for Radio 2 on Sunday night in the van), sleep, walk, have fun, eat some more, listen to more music and generally laze about and have a great time with my family.

A peek into my week…


Some of the ladies at Church enjoying our Jubilee party


The nightmare of Ethan’s blanket – here, it is all laid out in the pattern I want it to be joined but in practice, the large panels aren’t quite the same size as the regular sized patches surrounding them…. ARGH!!!!!

Come and join us at and join in!!