I dreamed a dream

People were excited, busily walking along the pavement, in the road, in groups and alone. All with something to do, somewhere to go, the hum of expectation in the air.

I followed Bob as he struggled along, out of breath, his back a little hunched yet a smile on his face and an unusual spring in his step none the less.

He passed a young, dark skinned youth and kissed his cheek joyfully and continued on. The love and joy was pouring out of him, he couldn’t stop it!

The youth glanced, smiled and carried on, realising he’d just been the recipient of affection for no reason at all. Three more young men walked up beside him and they carried on walking, chatting and laughing.

Bob suddenly crumbled to the floor and sat at the edge of a an alley on the pavement, still smiling. I stopped concerned.

As I looked down Bob looked back into my eyes with a smile and told  me he just needed to catch his breath. I suggested  a fold up cane seat might be useful in future. People continued to mill by.

Such a dear old man!

Stuck in a rut? Do something brave!

I heard it said this morning on TV, ” If you find yourself stuck in a rut, do something brave for God or, stay in your rut!

This picture is of one of my grandsons who just loves taking risks. He often injures himself but, he gets back up and goes again. Are you like that? Do you take risks? Do you get back up when you’ve injured yourself?

I can’t say my grandson does it for God as he’s told me he doesn’t believe, however that’s another story. What I can say is he likes to challenge himself. I think he gets it from his mother and we’re very proud of him although our hearts are often in our mouths when he does these things.

When I was a child, I was very shy and frightened of making mistakes. My mother thought it was good for me to join things even if I didn’t want to.

At three years old I went to dance school to learn ballet. I was terrified of the teacher, I was terrified of the other children, I was terrified of doing it wrong and being in trouble. I dreaded it every week. I tried to stay at the back of the class. I often felt picked on by the teacher who seemed huge, very old and her name was Miss Gould. Whenever she corrected me I wished I could disappear.

Several years later when my younger sister took classes too the dance school put on shows. We  had to wear strange costumes often with huge oversized knickers that mum had to alter. At one particular show in front of parents I had to dance an Irish Jig solo. I knew the dance but had a bad case of stage fright. My way of calming myself was to sit quietly and not talk to anyone, it wasn’t working this time.

I told mum I had a stomach ache (total lie), I really didn’t want to go out there in front of all those people. Mum and the teacher pulled me out of the next dance. Guess what? It wasn’t my solo.

You will be pleased to know I did it and got a great round of applause. I was so pleased with myself!

I loved singing as a child. I grew up hearing mum singing to the old wireless ( radio) as it was called. She had a little notebook she had written all the words down to the latest songs in. She would sing while she pottered around in the kitchen. I joined the choir in the infants school and I loved singing coming home and singing the songs to mum and dad. I remember one horrible one about blood on the saddle and a cowboy who got his head mashed. I really enjoyed singing that one because it seemed so disgusting and almost rebellious.

My Nan too used to play the piano by ear, she couldn’t read music and she would sing old music hall songs. She had a mildly operatic voice. I played piano,  one finger nursery rhymes. I even got my own piano from mum and dad.

In the first year of secondary school mum and dad decided they would pay for me to have private singing lessons, in the lunch hour, with Mrs Freer our music teacher. She was a big, dark-haired lady with an operatic voice. A bunch of my friends came and watched through the glass doors as I sang scales along with the piano. They pulled faces and laughed mockingly. I only ever went to one lesson.

As a teenager I would write down words to the latest songs and record myself singing on an old tape recorder. I sounded terrible to me but it didn’t stop me.

I sang  once at my friend’s wedding. Someone turned off the microphone. I was a bit drunk! However, I came away believing  I couldn’t sing.

When I became a Christian much later in life the desire to sing was still with me so I joined a worship team in the church. They seemed quite happy with my singing and I gained confidence. After having been a Christian for fourteen years and a few churches later I have sung in three worship teams and each time my confidence has grown.

I don’t sing in one at the moment but I love to watch anything where people sing in competition like The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent and years ago Stars In Your Eyes I think it was called where people would impersonate famous stars. Beautiful voices make me cry especially when the judges vote someone through to the next round.

What’s next? One day I’ll book those singing lessons I keep promising myself.

So what’s the message in this story?

Stuck in a rut? Do something brave!

I need to take my own advice!

 

 

 

Science

The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux

A sunny day and lots of fun were had at the Science Centre yesterday by five-year old grandson Harrison, my daughter Sophie and myself who were later joined by my youngest son of twenty-three Tristan. As we paid and entered through the shop Harrison was awed by the postcards, 3D posters and gifts wanting everything that caught his attention. Persuading him to  explore the outdoor discovery park first it was water play that attracted him. It was so exciting that Harrison didn’t want to move away from all the fascinating experiments set up there. We built damns exploring water pressure with pipes and connectors, operated the machines in the water circuit with its village pump, bucket chain and Archimedes’ screw and actually wondered if we would ever get Harrison away from it.

We played music on large pipes with paddles, learnt about how things move and how fast or slow they travel and stood aboard a platform that required careful positioning of the four of us so that the pendulum in the middle remained still and central. In fact my daughter and I were quite impressed that we discovered we could do it with just two of us when the instruction plaque said it needed four people. It made us feel a little more intelligent.

After exploring the outside we ventured into the galleries to experience all the interactive exhibits. Harrison’s favourite was the chair that he sat in and moved up and down by buttons he pressed while a Henry Hoover he recognised from home powered it. He was very impressed too by the exhibit on the planets with a life-sized cardboard astronaut Tim Peake, who he’s been learning about at school. He also had a plastic name plaque made for £1.50 by an attendant using magnetic toy letters and a heat machine.

We enjoyed some reasonably priced drinks and snacks in their cafe and built a large pendulum clock with giant cogs and hands which then had to be wound up, pointed at a screen to move and make pictures of constellations like Orion and Gemini match up with the stars  on the image of the night sky which felt particularly ‘star wars’ like with all the sound effects and lighting, shoot giant guns which caused paint effects on a screen which could be made to spin and also saved and emailed to ourselves. We discovered many more exciting  things about how things work in our world. We even managed to build an arched bridge with numbered blocks that the others challenged each other to walk across. It did collapse at one point. I decided I didn’t want to try it incase I hurt myself. I had my sensible head on that day.

We had a great time staying til the park closed at 6p.m. We were the last one’s to leave. In fact we’d been so busy having fun we completely missed a scheduled tour of the observatory’s giant telescopes but managed to grab a quick look at one that was left open at the last-minute. Finally we went back through the shop where Harrison persuaded his mum to buy him a kite and a 3D bookmark. We were told by the staff member that in school holidays they even have a spacesuit and hover-board12985443_718981094871524_4431023750584909685_n that kids can have a go on. We were very impressed. So impressed in fact my daughter wants us to attend and open evening later in the year to look through telescopes and find out more about astronomy which of course I happily agreed to. Although I’ve been before a few years ago it is always fun to go again with family and realise how little we really understand and take for granted how our universe works.