Having come home down South for the summer, I’ve already just spent the week back up North, it’s like I just can’t get away. Missing my university flatmates already, I started my northern rail trip with five trains to visit two of them up in Skipton, Yorkshire. Being the classic literature students we are we took the time to visit the Bronte’s house and church. We saw the actual piano they played in their younger years, the graveyard that ‘Wuthering heights’ was based on and set, the very room where ‘Jane Eyre’ was created right up to the furniture where members of the Bronte family breathed their last. A real step back through history with three of our much loved authors and their family and of course it would be rude not to end in a book shop so we finished our trip surrounded by the old smell of dead trees but living literature in the little second hand book shop of Howarth.
The following day was spent crossing over to the dark side from our own university allegiance into the city of York and I have to say, although I would never say this to any of my York friends, I absolutely love York. Walking down the beautiful old Shambles as if walking straight through an old movie and just taking in the grandeur of the Minster marking the city centre. After a lovely lunch in the quaint art gallery come cafe my York friend had taken me to previously (having, of course, to ring up for directions after wandering around for quite a while) we started our shopping trip around York. This included running through the gates of the princess castle in the Disney Store, looking at all the things in all the shops we can’t afford and possibly the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had. Another great day.
After what seemed like such a great but fleeting visit with friends, it was time to continue my northern rail trip with just two more trains this time up to Northallerton to be reunited with my OneSound family. Of course it wouldn’t be a OneSound weekend without getting slightly lost and well, it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard “goodness, you are a long way off” down the end of the OneSound phone after a while of aimless walking.
However, as far flung as we are, it still feels like coming home. It really is impossible to adequately describe the feeling you get from belonging to this group of people unless you’ve experienced it first hand which is why we decided to take a more active approach to publicising this particular concert by bringing our joy in music out into the streets on market day. What can I say, nothing says Christian music group like spending your rehearsal break doing a Bible study followed by a (kind of) flash mob.
It seemed our practice in the market square payed off as we made our way to the concert hall that evening. It is so great after hours of detailed rehearsal, knowing that by the time you walk onto the stage, you can simply stand and worship. And of course we celebrated our successes as well as a few goodbyes that evening with a well deserved trip to the pub. The last of us to leave the pub then retired back to the church we were staying at with our takeaways. It was only after an hour or so of chatting and playing games that the last group of people arrived back, finding out that our musical director, event coordinator, chaplain and first aider had just rocked up from a lock in at the pub. Whoever said Methodists don’t know how to celebrate? Of course the games continued and it has to be said, it’s never a good idea to check the time in these particular situations. It’s all fun and games until you see the clock and realise breakfast is in four and a half hours and you’ve only just finished your takeaway.
With that in mind we got a slightly reduced nights sleep before morning rehearsals for a particularly special goodbye service for the superintendent circuit minister of Northallerton. Then with only four trains back, rather than the seven it took to get there, and a mad dash across Waterloo, just making it in time, we were back home from yet another exhausting but brilliant weekend. 🙂