Sunday, July 30, 2006

Beet Root now edible!!

Before you stone me for what admitably sounds like herecy; I can back that up.
This evening I tried some hand made organic crisps, and they were amazing!! By far some of the tastiest chips I've ever had, I ate a good half a bag before remembering they were for the dinner party 2nite and hastily ducking down the shops to replace them (whoops). On closer examination of the bag I discovered there was no potato in these at all!! (herecy mob getting angrier, get to the point, quick!!) But that they were made of parsnips, carrot and beet root!!
Now, being against my (and all the mainstream) religions, I would not knowlegably have eaten. However brothers, I propose an exception to the law, much as God informed Peter that pork is good, that beet root may be eaten under the circumstance that it has taken the form of a hand made organic crisp. To check ou the amazing organic crisps for yourself visit to see for yourself.

Now, I had promised a post regarding last week... so I better surprise you all and deliver!! (didn't see that one coming, did ya?!)

So I already explained what Light House and Fiesta are (if you missed that scroll down two posts and fill yourself in) but when I posted that, unbeknownst to me, the best was yet to come. Thursday saw the best messy games line up I have ever been party to planning (or seen or heard vague rumour of for that matter) it was brilliant!!
We started with an all out water bomb war, which tends to work especially well when there's a heat wave on. Then we played the Alley-way of Death (Andy and I have copyrighted this name so don't even think about nicking it without paying proper tribute to the creators- tribute involves a great deal of praise and a little bit of money). For this game there is an alley marked out with witches hats about 40meters long, one team lines either side of the alley armed to the teeth with flower bombs, while the other team- still soaked from the water fight -gather at one end of the alley. Then the running team makes an insanely daring dash for the safety at the other end of the alley whilst the throwing team peg flower bombs at them. At the other end, anyone one who got hit with a flower bomb (dust from other peoples misfortune does not count) is out and goes to sit in disgrace and watch from the side of the pitch. Anyone who escaped unscathed faces another run back through the alley as their reward. At the other end, count the total number of safe runs and report back to the MC. Then we swapped the teams over and the throwers got a go (As captain of one team I wisely elected to throw first which gave me an edge on the tactics. I won't give the game way but suffice to say I led my team to glorious victory!!)

Having run out of flower bombs Andy and I had a quick conference. It appeared someone had given us a whole stack of eggs that were not used. Not wanting to waste such a valuable resource I handed my team an egg each and we once again lined the side of the alley-way of death. It was a magnificent charge by the lone, mad young man the other team allowed to run out ahead of them, his hair was swept back and fire was in his eyes, several of the girls (and one or two of the girlier boys) fainted. Seeing the danger my team was in of losing heart time slowed to a crawl for me, my dreads whipped the air in slow motion and I steadied myself, forcing back the urge to panic, something had to be done and done fast. Hardening my heart against admiration for the brave young soul racing up the alley, I tossed my egg up slightly and then snatched it from the air, drew back my arm and took aim... with a mighty roar I pitched my egg straight at the mad young man whose firery eyes flickered as they caught the hint of motion and lost their lock on the goal of the safety of the end of the alley. I'm told by those that ran behind him that one moment he was like Hector leading the charge and then the next he was like some kind of demented Russian gymnast attempting, but not quite succeeding, to do a running back flip as his head snapped backwards and shards of my egg flew from his forehead.
My team, stirred to ecstasy by my perfect throw, took aim at the now stumbling and much more nervous charge of the other team, 2 mins later the massacre of the mad charge was over and the one remaining un-hit charger wisely chose to turn tail and run screaming like a girl (I'm not entirely sure it wasn;t a girl come to think of it) off the site... never to be seen again. The decimated rivals half heartedly took up position along the alley but the contest was already over.

Finishing off the nite with a game of shaving foam limbo inside on of the tents, Andy and I left Fiesta that nite om such a high we floated all the way home, which proved a foolish move the next morning when we realised the floating effects had worn off and we had left the car in Risborough and had to hitch hike back out to Light House the next morning.

How could Friday possibly improve on the majesty of Thursday nites messy games? Well it happened like this:
Andy and I hitch hiked out to Risborough early in the morning and he sent me off to fill in a volunteers form (something perhaps I should have done at the start of the week, but anyhoo) I did that and listed Andy as my "responsible adult referee who has known me for two years at least" Andy having known me for about five weeks and being anything but responsible or adult this somehow was acceptable to Ingrid (head of Light House)... perhaps she thought I meant a different Andy... Done there I headed over to the big top to be assigned to a group and managed to score the 8's and 9's who are awesome coz they're still cute but you can actually get an understandable response from them... occaisionally... I spent the day mucking about with the kids having a great time, it was fun coming in fresh while everybody else is worn out from a weeks worth of Light House and being the kids new favorite leader, the rest of the crazed and neurotic group leaders kept looking at me in bewilderment trying to figure out who the hell I was and how I had so much bloody energy. I hadn't really realised until Friday how much I love working with younger kids as well as teenagers, I just had so much fun, asking questions all day and seeing what the kids came up with. At lunch I introduced them to the rules of tax and scored two apples and a mandarin for my troubles (before anyone has a go at me for stealing food off 8 year olds most of them had more food in their lunch boxes than I'd normally eat in a day!!) During the big top session my flat refusal to do actions back fired when the bloke singing the songs picked me and three other guys in a similar situation out and made us come up the front to lead the actions!! Jamie told me afterwards he's never seen me look so confused. Shocking.

The only other complaint about the day was the "fun sheriffs" who patrolled the site in the guise of female leaders (not all the feamle leaders come under this category but I was not told off by a single bloke all day) and were accosting people for such crimes as not wearing shoes in the 30 degree heat, or throwing a cup of water over your mates head to help him cool off in the heat, or for having a small child do something completely natural like lean on you in a crowded tent or give you a hug at the end of the day. There's a difference between child protection and legalism. Some people just shouldn't be working with kids. You should never have to threaten a child to make them obey you, if you must tell them what you need to happen and what will have to happen if that does not happen but whatever the circumstance do not tell a room full of 8 year olds that if anyone talks for 15mins their entire group will not be able to perform their drama skit. That is manipulation. If you want them to be quiet, ask their group leaders to settle them down.

In spite of the fun sheriffs I had a great day and this continued into the evening with the gig at Fiesta. Not that anybody went to hear the bands, everyone just wanted to hang out and relax outside. Andy and I started a football match and had some fun for a bit before he booted a ball into Sonja's face that would have put a dent in a concrete wall. In the time it took for her nose to stop bleeding everyone lost interest in the football match and headed off to hangout somewhere else. Andy and I raided the fridge containing the supply of Coke Imelda had left us and popped into the big top to find about ten kids dancing in front of the band, this led to a few conversations with various people about next year and ways to improve the program (ie. eirhter not doing a gig nite or getting bands people would actually listen to, this led to conversations about next year, which led to me thinking about next year and what the hell I'm going to do once I finish diploma, which led to a walk around the site, which led to a game of Extreme Sardines.
Andy and I were walking and talking when we realised some of the site crew were actually doing "security" and walking around the edge of the site with torches. Not to miss such an opportunity we ducked into some bushes on the edge of the site and waited for security to come around. The head of security walked past but missed us despite our laughter and teasing "Ka-Kaws" Which gave me the idea of extreme sardines: how may people could we sneak into the bushes without security noticing?! We pulled out our fones and started calling people in the gig, five fone calls later we had about 15 people sat in a bush. After a while we sent someone off to "tell" security they thought they heard someone in the bushes (security at this point were being boring and needed some encouragment to come and play) As this was happening Andy, Jamie and I slipped out of the back of the bushes and headed back around to sneak up behind security as they tracked the trouble makers in the bush. Timing at that point went terribly wrong and there was a rather dissapointing anti-climax as we walked out of a bush Dave happened to be pointing a torch at and the gig ended so the others got bored of waiting and emerged in a line from the bushes without security seeing a thing. It was great fun while we were in the bush tho, I swear!!

Thats about it for 2nite folks, I gotta work 2moro and despite a nap this afternoon I'm still tired from last week.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I'm really tempted to post 2nite, especially since i left a couple of comments promising a post on dads blog already, but its after midnite and this post needs more time than i can give it now so you'll have to wait till tomorrow (or sunday probably if youre in Oz)
Im having a really good but also challenging time at the moment. I am enjoying what I do immensely but also am frustrated with certain aspects of youth work and programs and people. My journal and my blog (hopefully in that order) should get a work out this weekend.
More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


The Posse House

England has two seasons each year; Winter- ice cold, can't go outside, get as warm as you possibly can, 8 below zero kind of weather. And summer- constant heat wave that even though you have been waiting for it for the past 8 months it is somehow worse than the depressing cold.
I havent been able to sleep for about a week and a half now. I cant sleep in the heat and the house does not cool down at night (due to the fact that it was designed to reatin any and all heat it possibly can for 8 months of the year) there are no fans, no air con, I have felt constantly like I need a shower for the last week.
On the up side there are two or three weeks in the change-over period of these seasons which are very pleasant indeed. And the summer hollidays mean that everyone is back from uni and wants to hang out, sleep outside, do stuff and Light House is on.
Light House (summer kids club, runs for a week at the start of the summer hollidays) is awesome. I havent been going during the day, but im taking Friday off to go hang out, but at nite... there is FIESTA!!!
Fiesta is like a thankyou to the teenage leaders who have been helping at Light House as leaders through the week. Each nite there is a different "theme" and different youth workers from around the place come in to hang out and do a talk. I organised some games and then did a talk for Monday nite. Considering it is probably the largest group of people I have ever spoken to and I wrote my talk in about 2 hours just before the nite... it went really well.
I have had a long term dislike of public speaking but I did not get nervous at all this time, somehow remembered everything I wanted to say and said it in the rite order. The kids all listened so I must have done ok.
The Highlight of the nite was Pluck Off. One of the best things about my "by the seat of my pants" style of youth work is that I have plenty of room to be spontaneous. So when one of the kids asked if we were going to play Pluck Off it was like a wave of light at the genius of the idea inside my head.
For those of you asking "what the hell is pluck off?!", it is a game that works like this. All the guys sit in the middle of a circle of girls and link arms, legs, any body part they can get a decent grip on, and then the girls pluck them off (read: violently tear them apart) The only rule: No Bad Touching- dont touch what you havent got.
I got Andy to save me a spot next to him while I explained the game and then linked up with him quick smart before the wave of girls fell upon us. Twenty mins later me and Andy were the only two guys still holding on and the girls, having given up on actually managing to seperate us from our bear hug a while ago, were enlisting the rest of the boys who had been beaten to come and seperate us with crow bars.
Five mins later me and Andy are suspended between two groups of guys connected by a monkey grip on each others wrist. We will go down in Light House history for two things: 1. We are Tanks. 2. On the slideshow that nite there were about 30 photos of me and Andy in a bear hug (which is not so bad except that it was a kind of upside down bear hug which, while working really well, came up with some embarrasing photo's)
2nite we're filling up about 2000 water bombs... I'm gonna enjoy 2nite.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Week... Is Over!!

Oh my word, what a week!! It was wikid, but I am very gald I can sleep now...
What happened:
Sunday- had lunch and saw Superman returns in Aylesbury with James. I told him I'd take him if he finished all his coursework on time, he did impressively well. Sonja informs me that the training nite for the day trip is 2moro nite and not Thursday like I thought (and had just told 30 people)
Monday- Spend half the day preparing for the training nite which I wasnt exoecting until Thursday. Saw the physio re. my knee, he gave me some exercises (must remember to start doing them sometime). Ran the training nite, my predictably perfect organisational skills mean everything goes according to plan (ummmmm... well, not too far off anyway) and somehow we manage to start 15mins late and end 15mins early (hmmmmm... what can I say? it's a gift). Then have a meeting with my new resources man for day trips which is great but means i dont get home until 10.30
Tuesday- spend half a day at work and then nick off early for Mark and Megans joint birthday up at Wendover woods. Head back to Heathers place where the party continues and ends with us lying on the lawn all nite talking and playing games until 4 in the morning at which point 2 things happen: 1- everybody (with the exception of Andy) decides to go to sleep. 2- Andy, who has been waiting for this moment all nite, decides that he is going to keep us awake at any cost. This involved stacks on me, singing a brilliant song the chorus to which is "Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a lot lot worse!", and standing over Heather and Megan for a good 5 mins screaming.
Wednesday- I dont really remember too much of Wednesday other than that Andy left at 6am and I got 3 hours of blissful slumber until 9 when I woke up feeling mank as the sun had come out and cooked my damp body (sleeping outside is awesome but you get wet even if it doesnt rain) into an agitated, twitching state that had to be carried inside for breakfast... oh yeah, and I didnt go to work, a rather wise piece of foresite meant I booked in a day off.
Thursday- I dont really remember much of Thursday either except it was HOT. Theres been a heat wave on for two weeks, 35 degrees everyday in an upstairs office with no insulatin or windows... uhhgghh!!
Friday- cafe in Wheatley did not go exactly to plan. With a grand total of 4 kids who informed us that skool had finished at 12.15 and everybody had nicked off already. Spent another couple of hours up at Wendover that nite. Played Killer Vortex with Andy, involves pegging a vortex at one another from about ten paces in the dark, great game, I had the better dodge, he had the better throw.
Saturday- Day trip day!! and after 2 solid weeks of heat wave: it rained. Now I'm not talking a little sun shower, it pissed it down!! Reorganised the day trip into something that possibly could have been entertaining if you were on drugs... turns out a lot of the kids on the day were on drugs... (need to give a large amount of the credit for the success of this too Matt who is amazing and who I am going to drag back from uni everytime i ever do a day trip again). Threw Maria in the pool. Was then thrown in the pool by 5 boys who had been waiting for a decent excuse to throw anyone in all afternoon. And now, several hours later, I am sitting in my kilt falling asleep in front of the computer... the week is done!!

Monday, July 17, 2006


These are all from the deck outside the resteraunt where the guitar workshop was held.

Above St Moritz

We had lunch and some chill time before the Guitar workshop on a ski slope above St Moritz. Mim and I snagged the deck chairs and enjoyed the view... life is sweet... Posted by Picasa


I believe I vaguely promised to post the rest of the trip to Switzerland a while back... as I have been discovering lately; nothing I say is set in stone. For instance, when I told 30 people last nite that there was a training nite for the day trip on Thursday, 20mins later Sozza comes and tells me that the training nite is on Monday and I have no idea what I'm talking about, as Monday nite stirred some vague memories (and later my diary confirmed) that indeed I didnt have a clue what I was talking about. And so if I should happen to say that I will post the rest of my trip to Switzerland... it probably wont happen. On the other hand, if Sozza were to say I was going to...

So this is me (the bloke with dreads), Mim (stripey shirt), Wes (or Vessle, as we like to call him) is in between us and to the left of me is Chris (he's American but the Swiss adopted him so thats ok) and we're standing in the middle of a stream in the Swiss Alps after stopping to dunk our heads in water that made ice feel like steam. From there we drove down to St Moritz for a guitar workshop and lunch with Phil Keaggy. Mim managed to time his conversation with Phil so well that we actually sat with him and his wife at lunch -I dont wanna hear it dad- and then Mim put his hand up to play with Phil at the end of the workshop when all the Swiss guys were too nervous to do so. Mim didn't know the chords, played completely out of time and must have looked like a complete muppet to the Swiss guys. However he was a muppet with way bigger balls than they had and he got to live a dream of playing (i do use the word playing loosely) with one of his hero's. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Law of Accumulation

Kind of... I went to visit my Grandfather in May for his birthday, (and mine), and unbeknown to Grampa; I was accompanied by my Dad and my Uncle Alan. To make the most of his birthday surprise we staged our appearances. The first thing Grampa saw when he rocked up at the airport was me sitting in the above pile of luggage. His disbelieving response was "You're not as good at this travelling game as your dad used to be..." but he bought my story about there being some unclaimed baggage I liked the look of and I managed to keep a straight face so everything was on track so far. As Grampa was loading the luggage into the car, which was already quite full with Aunty Vicki's shopping from the day before, Uncle Alan walked over and said G'day causing him to stop dead like a statue to the amusement of Aunty Vicki (who was in on the plot) and myself. Just as Grampa was recovering from that shock, Dad walked up behind him and asked if we had room for one more. Grampa started speaking gibberish at that point and only returned to speaking English once he had been assured that Uncle Bruce had not come as well. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Move

I'm moving out for a couple of weeks. The family I live with have two sons away at uni but it being the summer hollidays they are both home for a while and that makes the house rather cramped. So I'm shifting down the road to a mates place for two weeks, should be good fun!!
I tell you what: if I ever have to move back to Australia I'm in trouble. I just packed up my gear for a two week stintand have left some in storage here and there is a lot of it!! I don't have any idea how I managed to bring it all!! I started off only coming here for 6 weeks and must have brought enough junk to last me 6 years!!

More posts on the Schweiz Trip to come...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Australia Won the World Cup!!!

Haha!! Take that stupid diving Italians!! We Won!!
Mim and I were talking after the cup final 2nite and worked out that Australia actually won the world cup. We developed a formula that works like this:
-Italy won the World cup, therefore Italy is the "best" team in the competition.
-Italy cheated to beat Australia (refer to the blatant dive in the penalty area 10second before the match was to go to extra time)
-If Italy had not cheated; Australi would have won.
-Australia then has beaten the winners of the World Cup.
-Therfore... Australia won the World Cup!!!
We will be submitting our theory to FIFA come Monday and preparing to accept their appollogies.

The Cup Final was a bit of an uninteresting affair after the first 20mins or so until the penalties at the end. Nobody seemed very interested in supporting either side with any kind of gusto other than a vague interest from the contingent from Oz who wanted to see the stupid diving Italians get what was coming to them, many thanks and much praise to Zinedine Zidane delivered "what was coming" to Marco Matterazzi on our behalf.

*Zidane is on the right, the Italian is appealing for some sort of foul after a 3 out of 10 dive

In the Half time break we went out for a kick around and most of us didn't go back in until about a minute before the end of extra time to watch the penalty shoot out. The game outside was of a much higher quality with some brilliant touches and balls, I scored about 5 goals and put a great ball onto Andy's head which he didn't see until it hit him and went in!! (don't get too woried about his head, he's the bloke that gave me concussion, using his head, I suspect he has a metal plate in there somewhere) There were also some near misses and lucky escapes for the boys. We play on a patch of grass that I suspect is not meant to serve any other purpose than look nice and is half surrounded by houses. For some reason we always put the goals directly in front of this house that has more glass in the front than a Cathedral would have in all it's stained glass windows. By some miracle we are yet to smash a window despite several good shots that missed by bare milimetres including one shot from a young guy, who seems only to be able to hit the ball as hard and high as he can in the direction of the goal once he has posession, that bounced off the sill and across the window face!! Despite our efforts the windows remain unbroken and I have not yet had to explain to various bodies of authorities why exactly we chose to place the goal posts where we did.
All in all a great world cup final day!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Phil Keaggy... look dad; thats a guitar in his hands

If you need any more proof, dad, he's missing his right middle finger which you can see if you zoom in cose on the other photo. I feel I've defended my integrity well enough at this point and any futher doubts will be ignored until the day that I crush them with damning evidence when I recieve my copy of the Swiss Tour DVD in about a month. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

proof for the doubting thomas

This is the place we stayed at in Lavin, Phil happened to be walking towards me as I took the photo, I didn't even realise I'd got him in it till later on. Posted by Picasa

taking note of the 7th...

Yesterday was the 7th of the 7th. The date of the terrorist attacks on London a year ago.
It is also my bosses aniversary. He and his wife had planned to go into London to celebrate for the evening but had changed there plans to take some friends to the airport. Blessing in disguise.
It was also the day after I accepted the offer to come and work in the UK. This didn't phase me heaps but it was interesting timing.
The guy I live with is one of the rail directors of a company. Talking last nite I found out he was called in to set up an emergency station and get people out of the city on busses when the attacks happened. So many people were affected by this to the point where I'm sure I could find others in my networks who were involved in the response or affected by the attacks themselves.

Yesterday there was a memorial service in London for the victims.
A message from London for those that would wage Jihad with terrorism.
Let us hope there is no more dates for us to add to our callendars anytime soon...

Schweiz Trip Episode 2: Life in Frankie

Getting to Switzerland involved taking a car, shuttle bus, plane, bus, ferry and train all in the one day. Once we reached the car park, apparently-my recollection of this phase of the trip is a bit vague... something to do with being so high on sleep deprivation I was to energetic and distracted to notice details ie. what kind of transport we were using at the time. We flew into Germany, a city called Friedrichshafen (still can't pronounce that one properly so we called it Frankie) where we grabbed lunch at a cafe where they spoke no English, and the menu was all in German... after our meal of ducks eggs on garlic bread with a side of curry relish we concluded 2 things; 1-we would stick to German sausage that we bought at the markets unless we could find an English speaking resteraunt, and 2-Mim is never ordering for us in German again no matter how much he reckons he can speak the language.

We managed to miss the ferry for Switzerland twice because we missjudged our return to the warf and so we spent some extra time exploring the markets and the German version of K-Mart. There were several cool statues and playground Dad wouls have liked, see the photo of me and Tim and the one of me in a Zepplin playground.

Eventually we caught the ferry and enjoyed some more German sausage and a coke on the trip over. I love boarder secuirty in Europe, when we got to Switzerland we had to go looking for the passport office because we wanted to get the stamp in our passports and only after the bloke had stamped them did he think to half heartedly ask if we had anything to declare!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Schweiz Trip Episode 1: Thrope Park to Stanstead... no sleep

I had a 5 day weekend last, well, weekend.
It all started on Thursday when we went to Thorpe Park to celebrate Matty's birthday with a whole bunch of people and had a wikid day on the rollercoasters there. Exhausted and voiceless by the end of that little venture we made our way back to Thame for a bbq but were all late because of the traffic getting back out of London. After a bit of a barbie I headed into Thame for a special church service type thing in the town hall, I arrived just as the guy finished speaking and hung around for a couple of hours talking to people and praying until the entire group had had this bloke pray for them (seriously, pretty much everyone) not to be left out we headed up the front and got some prayer (we had a bet on to see who would "fall over" the quickest)
Finishing off there I headed home at about midnight to start packing for the trip, Tim was picking me up at 4 in the morning... if you're questioning the wisdom of this travel technique I just want to say it has never let me down, never pack till midnight and preferably don't sleep the nite before you fly...
4am- wake up to the sound of my fone ringing, realise several things; 1 I fell asleep about an hour ago, 2 my washing (which i put on at about midnite) is still in the dryer and not in my bag, 3 Tim is calling me from outside my house wanting to leave now, and 4 the moons gravitational pull is strong 2nite.

Me and Mim at 4.30am on our way to Stanstead airport after about an hours sleep each...

We did make it to Stanstead, on time and everything, but I have little/no recollection of the trip other than a vague sense of pain everytime I opened my eyes...
Stay tuned for Episode 2: Life in Frankie

In Chur for the Concert

Tim watching Phil "busk" for the camera right after he requested a photo shoot with us and asked if we wouldn't mind listenng to one of his songs. I don't wana hear no doubting come out of your mouth Dad... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A taste of things to come...

I took this photo from a chair-lift above St Moritz (pronounce: San Moritz) Usually this is a winter wonderland, or so I'm told, but in the middle of summer it was just magic!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Am in Switzerland with Mim. (i wanted to put an exclamation mark there but couldn't find one on the retarded Swiss keyboard) We're staying with some friends in a village called Lavin up in the mountains... it is beautiful, absolutely stunning...
Europe is amazing so far, it has just been added to my list of places to live in at some point, and Lavin is top of the list, there are mountains all around us, a river running through the town with a traditional wooden bridge over it, cobbled streets, fountains everywhere, and the guy we're staying with makes guitars so we have been playing around with some amazing guitars for the last day and a half.
After a nice sleep in today -had breakfast at about 12, try some swiss cheese on bread with jam, surprisingly good- we are considering catching the train over the boarder to Italy this arvo to have a look around before going to another Phil Keaggy concert tonight. (he is amazing, and we had lunch with him yesterday :D was v cool, he asked if he could get a photo with us... that's right: with us)
Got to go to Italy for a bit now but I'll post some stuff about the trip back in Uck...