Want to go back in time? …

•August 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Go to Llandudno!  We had never even been there before, but were wanting a few nice days at the beach with our children after camping in a field for 2 weeks at Keswick.  So it had to be somewhere not too far off the route between Keswick and London.

Llandudno seemed not too far along the North Wales coast but nicer than Prestatyn.After the recently blogged about Travelodge experience – a B and B it was to be, and after a few furtive hours online search in Java Coffee, I found a B and B that could fit us all in for a reasonable price.

We couldn’t really believe it – it was like being in a scene from Heartbeat, Noddy, and Balamory all rolled into one!

Our B and B room, looked over the curving bay, edged with an immaculate sweep of pastel Georgion buildings, (not even one ugly tower block or 1960s effort in the view at all! – not one!) and a wide red tarmac promenade, punctuated nicely with an elegant column at one end.

On the first day, you walk up the street to where the cute little coloured cable car cabins swing above a park onwards up The Great Orme, (a small mountain rock peninsula place creating one end of the curve of the bay), unfortunately quite expensive for the 7 of us but still nice to look at!  You reinvigorate the children with promises of an extra £2 each to spend in the gift shop at the top of the mountain, and walk up the waymarked Summit Trail, past the Ski Slope – yes the Ski Slope!  My husband says the British Ski Championships are held there – but I cannot believe that – but like I said it’s all a bit like a fairytale!  There is a tobaggan run too.  On past a herd of wild white goats and you can then marvel at the smart trams passing each other as they journey also up to the Summit.

At the Summit, there is a play area and a small lively centre with bar, toilets, gift shop, cafe, and vintage photograph booth where your family can dress up and be photographed as a Wild West family – that sort of thing.  And then there is also an exellent quality free, but not too onerous in size, Visitor Centre where you can find out about the stone age burial site, and wildlife etc.  And then you can find your own fossils nearby, and walk back down to the town past the Ancient Mine – sort of Craggy Island Fair type publicity.

Anyway, we went on the beach for lunch, and in a small not crowded area, all just the right size the kids enjoyed pony rides; a traditional Punch and Judy show, and a walk down the pier -with lots of quaint little stalls on it and small rides – and nothing anywhere was garish or ugly or too commercial!  I couldn’t believe it.  Normally there is a huge massive Arcade, or fair, or Morrisons or just carpark on the seafront but there wasn’t any.

And there was also a toy train that runs through the town, and a 1960s brown and cream curved shape bus doing tours, and a bright red open topped bus.  And from a jetty nearby there were jet boat rides, sightseeing tours, and fishing trips, all by just one operator so no lines of five different companies sandwich boards.  But he sat in a red and white striped deck chair on the prom with a Megaphone and did ‘Lunchtime specials’ where the trips were £2 rather than £3.

And the shops in the town centre are only a few minutes away and they are nice too.  On the second day the emergency services did a life boat demonstration on the sea, an a helicopter winched someone from the sea, to a watching crowd of about only 400, and the Red Arrows did a fly past! (On their way to Rhyll airshow actually but still!)  And as we looked back on the evening sun lighting up the beach from our B and B window, the sound of singing drifting in through the window too as the Beach Mission team did Songs of Praise seemed to roll the credits on a perfect but strangely ‘make believe’ sort of a day.

And there’s no way to make fun of it being an old fashioned seaside resort because it was so lovely and so rare and precious, I’d given up hope of that sort of thing still existing.  What I guess is the real romance and wonderland of what I’d read about in Museum Exhibitions as the magic of the old fashioned British Seaside Experience, but never quite experienced myself.

So if it really wasn’t a dream I had  – go there in summer and see for yourself.

(But be quick because unfortunately, I just can’t see how it is going to be all financially viable for many more seasons.)

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Keswick – K2 no rain please!

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for not posting for a while!  Keswick K2 starts next week and I’m really looking forward to it.  Our theme is Overcoming and we’re looking at Revelation – excellent!  Is so cool to get immersed in Revelation and see our risen conquering Jesus with tatoo King of kings and Lord of lords.

My first time speaking at K2 so pray God will be able to use some of the stuff I’ve prepared to help transform lives.  It’s certainly transformed my life as I’ve been preparin it!  Better go and find some socks and water the plants and try and get someone to look after the kids rabbit!  Help!  Oh plus packing up for 2 weeks camping and all that.

Site for Lead for England has new entrepreneurs on it too – so check them out and see if you can be an investor.

Why on earth did we choose a £19 Travelodge room?

•May 15, 2011 • 2 Comments

I’ve been thinking – why does it seem better value to detach ourselves from dependance on people?

For example: when we were needing somewhere to a stay for a night for a friends wedding in Bangor, (when we weren’t going to have the kids with us – hint – there’s a clue here!), why on earth did we choose a £19 Travelodge room rather than a B&B?!  (I can’t restrain myself from saying – I would not personally have been able to go through with the final click, as on about 3 wasted surfing occasions before, but I do take responsibility for saying ‘OK then’ at one point to my husband.)

So in one sense it presumably would have been a risk to choose a B&B – not sure what the people would be like?  What the room would be like?  At some level then we must have been afraid of people’s individuality and unpredictabilty, so we choose the bland awfulness of a ‘branded fleece-clad’ garage style ‘assistant for the check in experience after our long tiring journey instead.

£19 seemed better value, but what price do you put on conversation with a local Bangor couple; interesting if unpredictable individuality of their home, warmth of their welcome, and the richness of connecting with another community rather than a factory, and the promise of having a breakfast, any breakfast, the next morning?  Maybe I’m being optimistic but right now sitting in the Travelodge room – this stuff is all I can think of!  Surely all that stuff is worth the extra £30 – £40 we would have paid …

It’s basically dehumanising and awful and I just want to go to sleep quick and get out of here as soon as possible and get back to the real world.  However scary and strange people are it will always be better than this!

Broken things getting fixed :)

•January 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Happy New Year all

Seemed appropriate in January blues to finally post up my sermon on “Broken things getting fixed”  Amazing Jesus can fix everything!  there is no better good news than that!

Carol

Broken things getting fixed John 9-11

Everything sad will come untrue.

•December 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Everything sad will come untrue.  Even death is going to die.  And He will wipe away every tear from every eye.

I love these words from Isaiah  – they are just so moving.  We kept wandering away from God but He set in motion a Secret Rescue Plan  to come and get us back.  To save us from ourselves.

Every Christmas can be just a reminder that we are one year closer to death – thats what we’re all most afraid of at Christmas.  And yet in Jesus death is beaten!  Really!  Death is beaten  – it has come untrue for those who are in Christ Jesus, who showed the way is clear to heaven by coming back from the dead!  Awesome!

Jesus Storybook Bible.

Home is where people understand you …

•November 29, 2010 • 3 Comments

Sorry for bit of radio silence. Been too busy!

Well had lovely weekend with my 5 children back with my mum and dad where I grew up back in Malvern. Was lovely relaxing time just pottering around, (as much as you can with 5 under 11s). Did 2 Christmas fayres in church halls where my 2 younger daughters were excited by giving an old lady their one (£1) coin and getting the little doll or plastic brush or sunglasses as well as lots of coins back!! I’m not sure quite how well the ladies did only charging 5p for things but I think they did OK overall from us. Dad and I got 3 big pieces of lovely Victoria sponge, 2 teas, and 5 squashes for £3.70.  Good value when you’ve come from London.

I also began passing on an important Bray family tradition of playing ‘Chartbusters’. Don’t know if anyone else ever played this? Dad got it from a jumble sale when we kids and me and my brother and dad loved it and spent hours playing it. Basically you’re a rock star and it really brings out how risk taking you’re prepared to be in life! Anyway my older two children enjoyed their first game and I’m secretly hoping they’re as hooked with it as I was/am! 🙂

My two year old loved walking round in the snow with his grandpa, shouting “Grandpa I need you”

My daughter did her homework at my old MFI desk in my old room looking at the same great view that occupied hundreds of hours of my teenage daydreaming/ A-level revision memories.

Where do you drown your misery?

•October 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

While I was drowning my sorrows this morning with a latte  in COSTA at TESCO and asking Jesus to help me stop feeling so lonely I looked at my phone and there was text from what I guess is a new friend really.  She was Dave and is trying to be Louise and is struggling too …

DEAR CAROL AND BARRY, SORRY I DID’NT COME 2 CHURCH 2 DAY BUT DUE 2 BEING ON PRESCRIBED VALIUM, PROZAC AND ZOPICLONE 3X DAIY, I WAS STILL SEDATED UNTIL2PM, HOWEVER I SHALL B AT CHURCH ON SUNDAY ALSO WOMENS BIBLE STUDIES, HOPE 2 C U BOTH VERY SOON, AT THE MOMENT I’M DROWNING MY MISERY WITH A BOTTLE OF COGNAC. C U BOTH SOON, GOD BLESS, LUV FROM LOUISE XX

JUST TO QUICKLY SAY I AM SO GLAD AND PROUD TO HAVE MET YOU BOTH AND SOMEHOW/SOMEWAY U BOTH HAVE PUT ME OFF ANY SUICIDAL AND SELF DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS THINKING OF WHAT JESUS WENT THROUGH 4 US THERE IS NO WAY WITH YR TUITION ON THIS THAT I COULD GIVE UP ON THIS WONDERFUL GIFT OF LIFE, AND RESPECTFULLY I ASK PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP ON ME AS I DO CARE, VALUE, AND RESPECT U BOTH VERY MUCH INDEED, GOOD NIGHT AND GOD BLESS U ALL THERE.  THE HARDEST THING TO DO IS 2 FIND A FRIEND WHO IS TRUE, THOSE WHO BRING SUNSHINE INTO THE LIVES OF OTHERS, BRING SUNSHINE INTO THEIR OWN.  GOD BLESS LUV FROM LOUISE, XXX

And I think that has given me strength for today. 🙂  Thank you Jesus – please don’t give up on either of us!  And I thank you that I can know you don’t and you won’t.  Thank you Jesus for bringing sunshine into both our lives through what you did 4 us.

Please Jesus give all us Christians a heart for all out there who are totally at sea and drowning their misery in lots of places.  And I can’t thank St James 20s 30s group enough for their brilliant Secret Restaurant event that we both had a lovely evening at.  Matt and Philippa and Zahra u rock!

Where do you drown your misery? 

Let’s all be honest with each other and then call out to Jesus to help.

I love this video – no-one who looks at life honestly laughs at God.  No-one in life who sees their own misery laughs at God.