Day 10/11: long exposure

Leading for two weeks, it looked so good on paper…

E camp is good, the kids are a bit older and (somewhat) more mature, my tent listen to me and actually go to sleep which, I must say, makes a very pleasant change to sleeping bag wrestling and talking about the man with the ten stone family jewels. I then felt something I thought I never would, they may have been too quiet! But today they really got on as a tent and quiet times were really good!

The talks are heavier, which I guess is a good thing because they also challenge us as leaders, as often, we may just drift out of listening because we think we know it all already. The big challenge for me came through the speakers friend and it was about being real with someone. Really opening up to a fellow Christian mate or mentor and telling them, openly and honestly, about your walk with God. This struck me because I suck at this due to one reason or another, and it needs to stop because otherwise no one can help you or build you up if you don’t let them in. Challenge!

Wales is also beautiful, I’m going to Kenya in a few months and one of my favourite things is that when we visit my grandma in the Rift Valley, the moon and stars shine so bright due to lack of ambient light that they illuminate the floor brilliantly. There is almost no need for a streetlight! I’ve just come from lying on my back in a damp field trying out some long exposure shots of the sky above and I’m proud to say I got something vaguely looking alike! Focussing is the hardest part as any light from your camera pretty much blinds you, live view is useless and the viewfinder doesn’t work when you use a chair as a tripod. Pictures will come soon I hope!

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Day 5: broken wrists and surgery

It’s Wednesday! Camp is getting interesting, the kids are getting a lot more open it seems and two of mine who were originally the troublemakers are now turning to be true delights I their own ways, they moan a lot and LOVE football but inside they’re good kids. Another one of them has a mind that runs at a thousand miles a minute, constantly asking questions about pretty much everything. He comes from a Christian background and often has all the answers, but I hope that this week God turns head knowledge into heart knowledge for the both of us. Another of my tent began his first nefyn romance, I totally did not see that coming, which just makes me feel so old and out of the loop. It also made me happy to see the quiet one engaging more in games and stuff, I love it when everyone gets stuck in!

Today’s post is quite medical in nature. I was walking with H, the marathon brain, and talking to him about medical school, lo, the obvious question: “what sort of doctor are you going to be?” And I replied, truthfully, I have no idea! So he asked, “do you want to become a surgeon?” And I again replied, truthfully, “no, it’s waaay too much pressure, I can do it on cadavers but that’s because we don’t have to put them back together in the same extent as they don’t have to eat and breathe at the end of it”
“Is it because you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong? Because if you mess up, you’ll kill someone and you’ll feel really bad and go home and sit on your sofa and huff”
I couldn’t put it better myself.
surgery
Paediatrics
Obs and gynae
GP
Orthopaedics
General medicine
Rheumatology (the list goes on…)

The next little medical bit of today came in the form of a mysterious wrist. My friend Rachel hurt it whilst we played a horrendously unsafe curry feet challenge devised by members of the activities team. On the last days of term, we had a workshop on CPR and BLS. The reason being, according to our lecturers, the instant you tell someone you’re a medical student, there’s always this expectation
for you to, essentially, already be a doctor. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just a part of being a medical student. But it didn’t really hit until today when I was called upon to take a look at it, probably more as a joke but I sense there was some earnestness in te plea. It was a limb though and I’ve only done the thorax; why always limbs?! But this drove me to at least skim read my holiday copy of D&P vol. 1 (terrible sets of books, but the writer is our examiner…) and at least attempt to reassure her that it wasn’t broken. I felt a little odd in the sense that I find this really interesting, especially when you’re properly seeing the symptoms on a friend and are in a position to reach a diagnosis; times like these make me think I’ll enjoy being a doctor you know? I’ll let you know how accurate my first year + a few minutes of midnight skim reading diagnosis fared against that of our great NHS.

There was also a really cool sun set.

Word of the day: plethora

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Day 3 and Another failed attempt

The week has gotten off to a decent start, leading with an old friend Pete, with 5 campers. They were initially really hyperactive, wouldn’t sit down, listen or concentrate which I found really difficult to deal with as I’m only 19 and feel like I have little to no authority! However, today I saw something which made it feel like we were getting somewhere. One of the campers who was initially a major problem started singing when I split him up from his partner in crime, he even stood on a bench so he could see the words, God works in mysterious ways and I’m hoping that he’ll work miracles in and through these kids! Here’s to four more days of long days and later nights.

This morning we had a lie in so I decided to get a hit of my current addiction – sunrises. Woke up at 5:30 to walk down to the cliffpath, a little early so I could get some moody pictures of boats on the shore (pictures to come soon) , unfortunately, I got caught out again due to the dreaded cloud but I did manage to get the tail end of one!

I also met this incredible guy on the beach, he was walking along at around 6 with his three dogs, absolutely loving life. He gave me a little history lesson on the ex sea town that is nefyn, covering the seasonal changes to the sea (which I would die to see – apparently it freezes over in the winter) and even some tips on the local fauna, including a fox that, like him, makes a daily beach run. Apparently he’s been doing that walk every day for 50 years! The Londoner in me reviles at the prospect of conversing with strangers in a non-life-or-death situation but I’m glad he was there as, albeit, transient company.

Word of the day: phenomenal

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Nothing’s changed

Every year for the past 9 years of my life, I’ve slept in this bed on this night in incredulous excitement for the week ahead; that’s right, it’s nefyn tomorrow!

As a camper, this obscure North Walian field holds many fond memories of summers past, it’s where I properly started my walk with God and met some of my best friends. As a leader, this obscure North Walian field holds hope, that if we are even a fraction as inspirational as our leaders were to us, the new generation will grow to do great things in Him. That, and the promise of leaders only cookhouse leftover Nefyn treacle tart (trust me, this stuff is to die for)

Ok maybe the title was a bit of a misnomer, one thing has definitely changed, I can last minute pack like an absolute pro.

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When life throws you lemons…

…eat. Food is definitely the answer, at least for now! On the menu today was probably the best calzone I’ve ever eaten, Pepperoni sausage, seasoned chicken, pancetta bacon, roasted peppers, pomodoro sauce and cheese, truly an unbeatable combination. If you ever get the chance to visit a Prezzo, I’d highly recommend them. Over the course of the year they have become my favourite restaurant, not only because of the incredible food but, if you’re a member of the gourmet society, you get two for ones on main courses; full meal for just over a fiver!

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Thought for today

The word for today is cool. Daily little quiet times that often challenge our day to day lives. Recently, the big theme has been working for the kingdom which is quite applicable to me right now as I often squander a lot of my time. Here’s what struck me, what if God was your boss? Jesus your line manager. How would you change how you work? Procrastination? Effort? Attitude? Why should it be any different with human bosses or deadlines because God is still there right? Driving it further home, it refers to the parable of the talents – three people were given an investment by their boss, one got 10 shares, one 5 and the other 1. The first two did business with their shares, doubling their portions. The last guy, fearful of the guy in charge as he was renown for being short tempered, did nothing with his, hid it away and got no returns. The master returned and was angry at the last guy, why? Because he gave him something and he did nothing with his share, what use is that to the master? He might as well have left it in the bank, at least then he’d get some interest. So his share was taken from him and given to the guy who had 10 and gave those two guys even more shares.

God gives us talents, gifts, and it’s up to us to use them to serve him, otherwise, he’ll just take them away. We have to be trustworthy with the small stuff to be trusted with bigger stuff. I struggle with this sometimes because putting yourself out there is scary stuff, especially in this day and age so this is particularly challenging but God has brought me this far, grown me this much, so ill just trust in him to take me to the next level.

Did I ever mention how much I love getting mail?

Parcel force delivered! It might as well be Christmas in August! Today’s post is dedicated to the unknown artist who sold me the camera, not only was it in pristine condition but he packed the case full of so much extra stuff that I didn’t even know I wanted – truly a fantastic human!

Sadness, and meat

Expecting mail makes you paranoid. All week I’ve been pretty patient, of course, I’ve missed little Fred but I’ve had my heart set on today being the day, so I got up late (less waiting time) and for almost the entire day paced restlessly around the house, ears pricking at the slightest sound indicative of the parcel force man coming though my gate. It’s honestly one of the most frustrating times as I found out, in the end, it wasn’t even supposed to come today as Saturday delivery hasn’t been paid for, classic. So I turned up camera-less, which wasn’t bad as it meant I could go to a barbecue beforehand and drown my point-and-shoot misery out in burger after burger. After which came the reception which was lovely!

My friend Ryan and I went in suits and turned up in a Bentley like absolute sirs (after which we felt shamefully overdressed) but the car was incredible! Edge to edge red leather interior, wood and brushed steel trimmings, and the acceleration, my word! If this was my everyday car… We met up with some old teachers and it was really cool to catch up with them and see how school has changed over the last three years, it’s weird to think just how big a difference there’s been in my life since I left! Probably for the better; less screamo.

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Thoughts on being at home and Nefepiphynies

When you go off to university, it’s easy to think that it’s harder being a christian. First of all there’s the awkward getting-to-know-people phase where society tells you to try and downplay your personality and everything with it, in order to fit in and make people like you, then there’s the peer pressure associated with the general ‘unaaay’ lifestyle, where drink and sex are offered to you on a plate, not uncommonly at the same time, and then there’s just everyday life away from your comfort zone of long established christian friends who you always fall back on when stuff hits the fan. However, being at home, back in the safety zone, I’m slacking.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home, there’s no pressure to drink and be that guy all the time, I know who my friends are and have so much more control over my own life, I watch tv on an actual television, there’s food in the fridge; I can have lunch! But what I’m slowly seeing is that all these things perceived to be obstacles, stumbling blocks, are really stepping stones in expanding your faith. As always, the bible puts it in much better terms than I: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  – James 1:2-4.

I guess, when the world is really hostile, you’re dropped into somewhere unfamiliar and forced to fend for yourself, your faith is really tested, and this is definitely a good thing, although for me it didn’t seem so at the time. This year I’ve grown a lot, spiritually, but it took a chance meeting (more like an extremely impromptu living room jam session) with an old friend to make me realise that ever since I’ve come back, everything has slowed down, and I guess God puts people like those in your life sometimes to just give you a kick in the right direction.

Nefyn – a summer camp I’ve gone to since I was a child, is coming up in a week’s time. For the last two years I’ve gone as a tent leader to two absolutely fantastic groups of lads and I hope this year will be no different. I’m praying that they really take something from this year, but not only for the week but to last them all the way through. Nefyn, as my best friend describes it, is a little piece of heaven on Earth, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth, except, well, it ends, and, as I experienced many times, you are left in the lurch of the dreaded Nefyn hangover. So as we were talking, and thinking up songs for the set this year, Dave told me about his idea for a Facebook church. He was right on the money when he said that church shouldn’t be restricted to a building but is about people getting together to build each other up, get taught and worship God. Coming home from Nefyn, one of the biggest things was the difference you feel when, at least in my experience, return to your home church. It feels like being at home does for me now, everything just slows down, the congregation is stiff, the music may only be an organ playing pre 1960s hymns and you may be the only young person there. This meant, for me, God was once again confined to an insufferable, lie-in destroying two hours on a sunday morning instead of an everyday relationship as He wants it to.

So could he be on to something? Only time will tell. All we can do is leave it up to the Big man and see what he has to say for now

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Goodbye Fred

Yesterday marked the end of what has become a beautiful friendship, yes, that between myself and my camera. It was a sad occasion, but, on Friday comes my new baby (a D5100, I’ll need a new name…) from an artist who used it to draw and create a line of children’s books (Amazon is amazing –70% off, bargain!), all ready for another wedding.

This one is a little unusual in the sense that it’s my high school graphic design teacher’s wedding. There’s no dress code but she’s taking the entire thing on herself, down to making the wedding favours which should make for an interesting ceremony altogether!

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