Saturday, 15 September 2007

Visiting People

I neglected to mention that we've managed to do a reasonable amount of visiting people over the summer. On the way back from Pembrokeshire we stayed the night with Nick and Ann in Swansea. Nice meal, courtesy of Ann, followed by a walk down Swansea beach to the cinema to see The Simpsons Movie.

Next day we headed off to Neath where we had lunch with James and Sonia (nice curry buffet type arrangement) before driving all the way back up to Manchester.

The following weekend we went to Nan's 80th birthday bash, visiting two sets of parents en route in Wolverhampton and Corby (Northamptonshire) respectively.

With a mere two weeks of summer holiday remaining to Emma, she set about preparing for the decoration of the dining room. We had a surprise visit from James Hall (formerly my housemate whilst at Sheffield uni, now resident in Cambridge, although his mum lives about half an hour away from us) during the second coat of the walls. As it was getting late, James and I got curry while Emma finished off the final wall. (I should point out that I did offer to finish the painting while Emma & James got curry!)

It's been really nice this summer to see so many people over the summer, and it was very pleasant spending some time with Emma (not teaching for a few weeks was a great help). Decorating's quite therapeutic, and I'm looking forward to trying it with a little less time pressure.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Long time, no blog

Long time, no blog

It appears that I've not blogged since I graduated. Since then I've managed to avoid getting soaked at outdoor theatre, but I did faint and fall in the sea, which was warmer but scarier (mostly for Emma who towed me back to shore - we were kayaking at the time).

Notable events:

Birthdays. Took Emma to Knowsley Safari Park, which was nice. She fell in love with a bunny rabbit.

Holiday. Went camping in Pembrokeshire. I slept badly, was grumpy and fell in the sea. Walking round the coastal path was nice, and we bought a picture to put up in the lounge in anticipation of decoration. Never got round to going surfing.

Cursed decorating plans. The original plan was to do the bedroom, but there was (hopefully past tense, now that a roofer's been out) a very slight leak and it seemed pointless to decorate a room that could get water damage. Then we were going to do the office (remove foul woodchip wallpaper, fix a manky alcove, replaster and paint, build new desk all down one wall, etc.). This plan got thrown out when Emma's mum decided that we should take urgent deliver of a .......

Piano. The piano which Emma learnt to play on, and has lived (unplayed) at her mum's house was intended to be given to Emma when she had a permanent residence. The imminent arrival of said piano meant that we decorated the dining room, where it now lives. Emma's learning to play "Live and Let Die", whilst I'm learning to play.

Dining room. Our first attempt at decorating was a success, and (after much sanding of skirting boards (Emma), three coats of paint on the ceiling, two on the walls, two coats of gloss on the skirting & door, one coat on the radiator (still need to do the second) and a new carpet) the room looks great. Now we just need to chuck out all the bookcases that were in there before, and get some that work in there.

Potted Potter. All seven books in one hour. Same idea as the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Brilliant. We also saw Sandi Toksvig in the bar beforehand.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Pope Benedict is arriving at Loreto today for The Agora' of the young Catholics. Loreto is a Holy Shrine to the Virgin Mary and is also 20 minutes by car from my village. I often go there with my mum and before coming to England my friend Marghe dragged me there to confession and mass. In the past my village organised a pilgrimage to Loreto and I went once. We left at 2 in the morning and we arrived at Loreto at around 830. It was a great experience, tiring but worth doing.

Inside the Holy house, which is believed to be the house where the Virgin Mary was born and received the annunciation, people from all Italy and from all the world come to pray and ask for help. The house is small and always crowded with people. I'm always teary when I'm in there because I can feel the presence of Mary and God very strongly, and I feel it in all those people who are there, who come from afar to bring their pains and sufferings before the Virgin. It's a great place.

My dad, being a volunteer fireman, spent the last month in Loreto to set up the camp and tents and yesterday the rain and the wind blew them out.

This is one of the moment when I really really miss Italian TV. I will miss the mass tomorrow and all the coverage. I've just read on the web that this will be the first time the Pope will answer people's questions on TV. I'll ask my sister to record the mass but it won't be the same.

In my village there are lots of young Catholics from all Europe. They are sleeping in the gym, in the convent and some families offered their houses. My mum said that it's really nice to see all these young people around, they are really cheerful, they play music and sing all the time.

I can feel the energy and the emotions of this big event. I remembered watching the Mass of the World Youth Day in Rome (my sister was there together with some friends) and it was amazing the energy, the joy, the strength, the faith of all those people. It was amazing being able to watch the event on TV, participate and being unite with the people in Rome. I was really moved and teary throughout the celebration. It was a strong moment when I felt part of this big family.