Angels from the realms of glory

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I love presents and food and wine and family and singing and cheese and Xmas TV and Queenies speech and Doctor Who Christmas special and music and stupid games and togetherness.

Can you even imagine what it would have been like in that stable?
Don’t forget the reason for the season.

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A reflection in 6 parts

As we near towards the end of 2013, I cannot help but think of all that has happened this year. I haven’t written in what feels like forever, when quite frankly I have had a giant list of things that I totally could have shared with you. Instead I suppose I’ll touch upon some of my highlights, some that have definitely happened in the last 3 months or so!

After I finished a bunch of summer internships – BBC Performing Arts Fund, Library Theatre, Whitworth Art Gallery, I applied for a Marketing & Schools Co-ordinator job at the Challenge Network in Manchester. At this point I was so bored of applying for jobs. Annoyed at how poor I was and scarcely conscious of the fact I might have to move back home if I didn’t get something soon. I went into that job interview pretty flipping nervous. It didn’t stop me telling my interview panel quite confidently that I believed I could do the job, and do the job well. Two weeks later I got a call from them with a start date of December 2nd. My first choice, as it was going to fit in perfectly with the trip to America I had planned for November. So highlight number 1 – applying and successful getting a job. Next year I want to smash it!!!

In November I went to the States for 3 and a half weeks. It was magical. Full of art and beer and old friends and new ones. Some real blasts from the past were mixed in with some memories that I will remember for the rest of my lifetime! I gloried at the art in Manhattan, drank craft beer from Microbreweries in Portland, and sampled the foody delights of the Seattle Pike Place Market. It was just what I needed. A chance to get away from Manchester and have some ME time. I love my friends and my God and my life but pheweeeee it gets a bit busy sometimes and I really don’t put myself first. I stayed with friends I had not seen in years and was reminded of family memories that truly touched my heart. I was inspired by the creativity that oozed out of the country but remained perplexed at the social needs of some really poor communities. I made friends from Australia, Austria and Switzerland and spent a large majority of my time swapping stories – one of my all time favourite things to do. Highlight number 2 – USA! USA! USA!

Before my crazy summer of working for free and planning a holiday I graduated University. Something I knew I would always do but there was still a teeny weeny part of my brain that thought I wouldn’t get a 2:1. I did however, and comfortably walked across the stage in the Whitworth Hall to gain my certificate. Its a very hyped up event, totally over-priced and a bit weird, so my favourite part was seeing my family come together for lunch afterwards. We ate and drank and I showed them my new gaff in Didsbury. Highlight number 3 – BA (Hons) Drama, 2:1

I’m not bored with God anymore. I think when you finish a stage in life – which is largely connected to education – you feel like its the end of the world. Nothing is certain, and no matter how much people say ‘God has a plan for your life’ you just want to tell them to bog off and say why hasn’t anything happened yet. What have I learnt in 2013? Patience baby, its a true virtue that you have to PRACTICE. As much as I believe that people have a lot of common sense and things that appear naturally to them its frustrating when not enough emphasis is put on practicing disciplines. Whether you are in church or not! Practice time keeping (something I am getting better at!), practice patience, practice silence, practice love. This year I have learnt to practice. When I have gotten better at something – patience, time-keeping or loving people its made me just WOW over how God loves us and ultimately wants the best for us. Highlight number 4 – learning to be obedient and patient. (I still have a long way to go!)

In June I moved into a house share with 7 strangers in Didsbury. Its wonderful. We are our own little disjointed family, challenging each other left, right and centre and learning that just because we are all different doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. 8 people in a house gets busy and messy and stressy mind, but I really do love them, and I totally encourage you to live with randoms or do a house share cos it sure does keep you on your toes! Highlight number 5 – housesharing.

Things happen when you least expect it. Like boys, jobs, bad moods, arguments, and creativity. I’m pretty sure the best way to be is to embrace it all really. Try and be an open book. Know how to make yourself feel better when you feel crummy. Love people, REALLY. Highlight number 6 – trying to love perfectly so that fear is cast out. THEN blessings come tenfold!

 

mandela

Glamorous Camping

Glamping! Yes people, it is an actual thing.

I am a trusted camper, like real camper. I’ve done festivals, weekends away, week long exploits in sun, snow, rain, mud, EVERYTHING.  But my my would I glamp again!

The weekend booked in the calendar for myself and two other friends, just happened to be the start of the rainy season in lovely Manchester. We’ve had a stunner of a summer, so its totally to be expected that at one point its gonna piss it down. I got complacent you see, but now I am extremly weary of wet feet syndrome and frizzy hair o’clock. The. Rain. Is. Back.

We left Manchester for Anglesey around 6ish after a trip to Tescos and the chippy. At this point its cold and had been raining all day. We hit the motorwary and as we get past Chester and to North Wales I get far too excited at seeing the sea. I never see the sea! It looked rather chilly, but so pretty nonetheless. We were glamping in a YURT. In a small village called Rhydwn, about 25 minutes from Holyhead.

Its black. Like pitch black by the time we get to the farm where the said Yurt is. Its torrential rain and so flipping dark. We pull into the ‘yurt park’ and before I know it the farmer knocks on the front car window and scares the beejesus out of me my friends. Alas, we are in the right place! Following the small but very useful hue of some fairy lights I descend down the hill to a giant yurt with central fire, 2 singles and a double bed, with duvets rivalling that of my own John Lewis number. As much as I wanted to climb into bed with instant fire, we had to unpack the car. Put food in the kitchen, I needed to use the loo, and we had to light the fire with some soggy fuel.  At this point its cold. I need a glass of wine. Its pouring outside and we’re all tired from a full week at work. But, the inside of the yurt has rugs and Scrabble and chairs and cushions and fire and just… ahhhh. We drink wine, we discuss the frivolities of the past week. We sleep. A lot.

Saturday means beaches. Its still Artic outside so its basically put on every single item of clothing you have that you haven’t slept in day. Bacon sandwiches happen. LOTS of tea happens. And then its time to hit the beaches of Anglesey on the farmers request….

What beautiful, peaceful awe-filled scenery I experience over the next few hours. Chasing the tide, walking along a veeeerry windy cliff top, feeling sand between my toes, feeling freeeeeeezing, birdwatching and general pottering around the North Welsh coastline. By Saturday evening back at the Yurt it had stopped raining, this mean OUTSIDE FIRE! I cooked on the electric oven in the kitchen (very surreal) whilst my friendlies made an open fire for us to huddle round, drink more wine and appreciate the stars. Even now I can’t quite believe how we managed to have dry periods in a midst one hell of rainy weekend. God.

I love stars. Thats one of my favourite things about camping/glamping/being outside. Its good for the soul. I thoroughly recommend it.

What did we do on Sunday? More beach pottering. As we leave Anglesey, the storms clear up and the coast looks even more beautiful in the dusk sunshine. I cannot emphasise how much good fresh air does for me. I love Manchester, but now i’m starting the love the Northern countryside & coastline even more.

Lake District now anyone?

 

yurt coastline

 

 

 

 

 

wind

The Work Experience

As a recent arts graduate, I have accepted the fact I will most likely not gain a permanent job in something I enjoy, feel like I can progress in, or is relevant to my degree for some time now. An interesting conclusion, but one that I just fancied sharing some thoughts over.

Finishing University is a bizarre feeling. I am so glad third year is over – but the job hunt is time-consuming, demoralising and hard flipping work. I have spent my summer in 2013 doing work experience, a part-time role in a local gallery, and various temporary supportive roles for different theatre shows. Its been hectic, but (I hope) extremely worthwhile. I am still trying to find out whether all this hard work will lead to a permanent job yet, but for now its kept me seriously busy.

I’ve recently finished an internship with the BBC Performing Arts Fund at the brand spanking new BBC North offices at MediaCityUK. Oh my word was it an amazing amazing time. I learnt a ton about how BBC North works, that actually the employed staff at BBC Performing Arts Fund do a far more than people realise, and that its existence as a charity is so imperative and important to the community groups that have been affected by it. I began to understand some corporate office lingo, fused with an informal hot-desking approach to work and found myself slotting into commuter life a little too easily.

In essence, here are 3 things that I did that I’m pretty sure helped to make my internship all that worthwhile:

1. Ask for a daily task list.paf
During the first few days I had to complete training, basic research and finding my way around the office. Its a bit dull at first but has to be done. Only after these initial few days does the real work begin. Depending on your job description – mine had 3 clear objectives I could work on – start planning and jotting down ideas and plans relating to the tasks. These might be specific for your internship SO don’t forget to ask about general day-to-day tasks as well. This is what I mean by a daily task list. It might include social media updates, calendar scheduling, replying to emails as well as chasing emails. All these might change on a daily basis but are probably a reason why you there for an internship in the first place. Make sure you know about weekly meetings, and know who else is in your part of the office.

2. Be sociable.
So this sounds super obvious but I think it’s quite important. Go out for birthdays! Organise meal trips, recommend bars, stay for drinks after work – make an impression! Not a tipsy, drunken one, just an enthusiastic genuine one! I found myself in craft club, choir and lots of lunchtime cake action. It was great banter.

3. Say yes.
If its a social engagement, a reply to an email, a tweet to send, an assignment to finish, a database to add to, SAY YES. This is a time where you can practice prioritising your work and making the most out of your time in an established company. Don’t feel like you are at the bottom of the food chain just because you are an unpaid employee. Equally, don’t be a brown-noser. It may sound obvious, but I reckon a bit of awareness to what your paid colleagues are doing will stop a an awkward interaction when you pester them for answers when they are right in the middle of something.

My time at BBC Performing Arts Fund was so fantastic, it’s a shame that at this moment in time there was nothing in the department that could have developed further into a permanent role. I’ve maintained good contact with my colleagues that worked there though so I will not be short of a good reference in the mean time!

As to where I am now, I’m back on a temporary run of In the Night Garden Live at the Trafford Centre. (Yes, you know the one with Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy and that freak who washes rocks – Maaaaka Paka!) Such is the nature of the arts world that jobs come and go, especially in front of house and production support for touring shows. I am nonetheless continuing my aspirations towards arts administration, learning more and more about this complex industry as I go!

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BBC Performing Arts Fund – http://www.bbc.co.uk/performingartsfund/
In the Night Garden Live – http://www.nightgardenlive.com/