The McQueen Family

The Colin McQueen Family Blog

Jun-28-16

Nicholaston House – The end of June

posted by admin

The Month of June is nearly over and we will soon be into our final 3 weeks of volunteering

Chalk Stacks looking west from Old Harry

Chalk Stacks looking west from Old Harry

at Nicholaston House. The last two weeks have flown by. Two weekend ago we had the privilege of being hospitable to a group of 30 or so Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees displaced from their home because of the troubles in those countries. The house was awash with the sound of laughter as several of the group were under 10. Swansea and Cardiff are well known as cities of sanctuary for refugees. I had time to speak with a few of the adults. Many of these are professional people who are struggling to get jobs matching their education but in humility they are accepting any roles to support their families. Some of their singing though rhythmic ,as you’d expect for Africans, sounded sad and solemn.
More recently we have hosted a week called ‘Discovering Your God Given Song’ with Cath & Dai Woolridge plus the ‘Sound Of Wales’. These talented and passionate people filled the house with worship music spoken word dramatic sets and encouraged the participants to deepen their understanding of the love of God towards them using music and song to create an atmosphere that moved from one of awe to beauty and spirit filled. The team leading the week and the visitors greatly appreciated the lovely setting and hospitality for this musical pursuing of God. On the Thursday there was a concert attended by over 70 visitors.

We’ve also had visitors from King’s or should I say Pakistan and Burundi. Jean Brand who is on furlough, staying at our house in Lordswood, from teaching counselling skills in Ralwapindi and Rachel Carpenter on furlough from all the tensions in Bujumbura. I trust they found the house restful and helpful.

Simon is a strong 187 but seriously that perspective is a joke!

Simon is a strong 187 but seriously that perspective is a joke!

This last weekend I left Kathy behind suffering from a bad cough as I travelled back to Southampton to go to the King’s Men’s Weekend at the Greenhouse Christian Centre (formerly Green Pastures). My journey home was one of the best times ever with God as I played tracks and sang along to One Hundred Hours, Matt Redman and Keith Green. God did some serious work in me on that journey which followed on from Prayer Ministry I’d received at the hands of my beautiful wife. Several ideas and words for the weekend came through too. We had a great time of fellowship, walking, talking, worship, swimming, listening to talks, Holy Spirit prayer times and of course a couple of pub visits. The walk to Old Harry and his wife at Studland was a breath of fresh air with sunshine between a couple of showers. We had some photos taken by a very obliging American lady.

Some of the guys parting the way to see Old Harry

Some of the guys parting the way to see Old Harry

Though down on numbers from the last two years I believe the depth of fellowship and fun factors increased. Simon Orton our pastor led the talks on ‘Fight the Good Fight’ using Job, Daniel and Revelation. The content was superb and the question time and prayer sessions that followed were thought-provoking and encouraging. Also the meal time activity of guys sharing 3 stories about themselves only one of which had to be totally true was revealing, relationship building and quite hilarious at times. I came away for the first time feeling like I had developed my love for the guys as well deepened my love for God. The fact I’d been harbouring the same bug as Kathy all weekend didn’t matter.
However, the bug is still with me and Kathy and on returning to Nicholaston House I have found out that dear Anne and lovely Becky had both succumbed to the bug. Becky so badly she lost her voice. And what a voice to lose! She sings so beautifully. Hopefully we are all now on the mend and Pam, she of the lyrical Welsh voice, is thankfully back after 10 days leave. This place isn’t the same without Pam.

Dave and I supping Old Speckled Hen at Branscombe Chine

Dave and I supping Old Speckled Hen at Branscombe Chine

I ought to mention Europe I guess. Both the EU referendum and the football Euros 2016. I’d also voted back in Southampton. I had three votes as I was proxy for Ben and Kathy. Personally I voted out as I believe God wants the UK to be a sovereign nation again not tied into political and economic union with the EU which is a self-proclaimed godless institution. I also don’t like the fact that Europe passes laws we have little if any say in. I believe in democracy as the best way for the world to function if you are not looking to God and the EU is not democratic. Yes we will lose out on some freedoms and may suffer some hardship but we can, as individuals and churches, have more say in the way our country is run. What we need now is to pray Christian believers into parliament. Regarding the Euros, I have really enjoyed supporting Hungary (have I said we have 2 passionate Hungarian staff here in Anita and Gary?) and the smaller home nations but don’t want to say anything about England. It’s just too embarrassing. All I can say now is “C’mon Wales!”

The weather has been mixed. Several rainstorms and the odd thunderstorm. We have just had a very windy day but as the sun sets the calm arrives and I can see salmon pink tinted clouds lined up along the sky as I look across the now calm Bristol Channel. What a beautiful place this is.

We are now into a Prayer ministry week where the house has three people who have come to receive from God through sessions where they can talk and be listened to sensitively and then prayed for by a pair of prayer ministers. Kathy and I have joined that team. Again it was a privilege to be used by God to serve others. And He does provide. I can say without hesitation that the times in my life when I have received extended times of prayer ministry have been some of the most important times of my Christian walk. God does speak and heal our souls. He is in the business of making us whole, redeeming us and restoring us to be closer to who we were meant to be. Praise God that Jesus has broken the power of sin and death. That our past does not have to define our present not our future. Hope is found through faith in the love of Christ who is in us, the hope of glory!

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Jun-14-16

Nicholaston House – Week 3

posted by admin

Well it appears that over 3 weeks have gone by. Time is really passing quickly. We went to our first church service last Sunday. Liberty Church part of Cornerstone meets in the Welsh Bible College at Blackpill between the Gower and Swansea. They meet in an indistinguishable long hut like building with an angle roof so the projection screen is at 60 degrees. We arrived as the singing started squeezing into the last two seats on the side and the worship was simply joyous. There were faces from several continents and ages from babies to octogenarian yet most were loud and bouncing. How some kept up their joyful bouncing for so long I don’t know. As I (Colin) joined in I scanned the room and several times choked up as I saw true worshippers so immersed in praising God yet others were aware of the need of those to be handed tissues as God touched them.
It was an unusual service and didn’t follow the plan we were told later. Impromptu sharing and moving testimonies led the way no doubt because the Holy Spirit wanted to have things His way.

We heard from a volunteer serving on a YWAM ship moored off Lesbos in Greece catering for the thousands of refugees now incarcerated in the camp. Men rioting for food and trouble between cultures adding to the fear and hopelessness of the abandoned women and children whose stories break your heart. Will BREXIT hinder this work as the love and gospel of Christ moves among these people groups many who have been told by their religious leaders to stay away from the Christians tales of ʿĪsā ibn Maryām. When a hurting, fearful and hopeless Muslim hears the truth the joy is tangible so I am told.

We also listened to a visitor from Nazareth. A deeply voiced lady who has worked to bring Arab and Jewish believing leaders together in the city where Jesus was not accepted in his day. The Arab Christians were convicted of their previous rejection of the Jewish believers and washed their feet.

All in all an amazing service.

Kathy and I visited Caswell Bay and did some walking towards Langland on a concreted path around the cliff tops. The views are lovely being able to see across the channel. Kathy managed to get some body surfing in as well. I recalled that the last time I was on that beach I was a student in Swansea and we helped with a young child who went into a fit when hit be a cricket ball his dad had struck. I recalled the exact spot as we walked past it.

Beauty walks out the waves!

Beauty walks out the waves!

God does seem to be drawing out several threads from my past and I am getting more and more reassurance I am in the place he wants me to be at this time, despite some struggles with me being not quite sure where I fit in the work here. Kathy, on the other hand, as is her norm has struck up strong relationships already and God has used her to help others in many varied situations. I was thinking there would be more opportunity for discussions on faith and encouragements regarding bible study but the dominant work of service can be quite exhausting. I do manage to get some time reading but little time in brother to brother discussion and prayer. The workers here have churches and home groups where I guess they get much of their inspiration and recharging. As a couple we do encourage one another and actually Kathy has really helped me reflect on things and look to apply what God is teaching me. Thank you God for a believing and caring wife.

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Jun-2-16

Nicholaston House Week 2

posted by admin
Panorama of Cefn Bryn

Panorama of Cefn Bryn

Well we’ve been here for over a week and a half. Time is flying. Colin has spent days in the office answering a myriad of phone calls emails and answer phone messages. This place is fairly busy but it’s the variety of events and retreats on offer that cause most of the work in the office. And that’s ignoring the general overheads maintenance. Kathy continues to bounce (in the nicest way) between prayer ministry, weeding the garden, waitressing and washing up.

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Penrice Castle grounds

It’s been a fairly aerobic week too. On Saturday I did a 20 mile cycle around the south of Gower. Starting from the House I cycled past the Penrice Castle grounds including stopping off at the King Arthur pub in Renoyldston and the Kings Head in Llangennith. There are some exceptional real ales brewed on and around the Gower. I ended up pushing my bicycle over the dunes onto Rhosilli Beach and then cycling along this wonderfully flat long sandy shore. Pushing the bike up the path at the end was a bit of a chore though.

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Rhosilli Beach

After Rhosilli I cycled past but not down to Port Eynon, Oxwich and Horton then made a disastrous decision to go through Penrice. Quaint though it was I should have been warned by the exciting fast downhill to a stream. The road up was hard! 

The final cycle back to Nicholaston house was dodgy on the roads as the traffic was thick and fast though I must admit drivers were very careful when passing by. Thank you drivers n the Gower.

Tonight I have just walked out the back along Cefn Bryn on the Gower Way. I intended to just pray and take some photos but the vista was so amazing. You can see Burry Estuary, Oxwich Bay, Swansea, across the Bristol Channel to Exmoor and the East to the Brecon Beacons.  

You can view Brecon from the Gower

You can view Brecon from the Gower

I kept walking to higher ground and in the end decided to go all the way to Renyoldston village to have a pint of Gower Gold at The King Arthur pub.

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The Gower Inn


They have Excalibur on the wall they say. Hmmmm! Cleverly I decided to text Kathy asking her to come and join me for a drink. As I sat there downing my pint and a naughty bag of crisps and dry roasted nuts (I WILL be self-controlled with snacks, I WILL be self-controlled with snacks) people who were dining outside started streaming in as swarms of midges descended as the sun was setting. Apparently it was really unusual but be warned. The menu by the way looks excellent as does the food itself. And the prices were very fair I thought.
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Is this really Excalibur …


The guys in American Werewolf in London leave the Slaughtered Lamb for the moors as dusk descends

The guys in American Werewolf in London leave the Slaughtered Lamb for the moors as dusk descends


Anyway to cut a long story short Kathy didn’t reply to the texts and so at 9:45pm I had to strike back out on the Gower Way. As I hit the path I was reminded of that scene in American Werewolf in London as the guys leave the Slaughtered Lamb and cross the moors. Just as I thought that I heard a wolf (dog) howl. I began to wish I’d brought Excalibur with me. Anyway the headphones went on and I started singing along at the top of my voice to Noel Richards ‘There is power in the name of Jesus’ and ‘He is our Fortress.’ As darkness descended the sight of me with an iPhone torch on my own singing loudly was probably enough to scare off all but the hardiest demons! (and werewolves). Exhausted I got back to the camper-van at close to 11pm and a dozing Kathy who was suitably chagrined as she’d ignored my texts. Needless to say I slept well. In fact I slept in so was late to help the wonderful Anita and Pam with breakfast. They were very forgiving. They do what it says on the tin 😉

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May-26-16

Nicholaston House Day 3

posted by mcqueencj

Well actually it’s mostly a trip to London! Our first cooked breakfast as we were largely on our first day off. I will have to stay away from these if that weights going to come off but the odd one is OK isn’t it? Kathy spent the morning in prayer ministry with a guest which bore fruit. This place is such a place of peace and tranquillity but with the Lord acting through our prayers and love for the guests little would be achieved. We shot off at 12:30 to get to London to see the Royal Marines Beating the Retreat for Prince Philip at Horseguard Parade. A 3 hour journey out of Wales to Hounslow West tube station on the Picadilly Line (I decided my confusion expecting the map to show it as yellow was due to me thinking of it as the Picallili Line) and an hour journey to Westminster via the District Line. We picked up our tickets then met up with Sam to watch Ben in the parade as part of the Royal Guard. A powerful display of precision and music with the band of the Royal Marines. Hard to spot Ben but we now know as we met him after that he was three from the back in the first group. My favourite bits were the Dreadnought and Lord of the Rings music plus of course the Marines showing off their skills in marching and handling their guns. There were poignant visual and music commemorating the Battle of Jutland. So sad and so dreadful war at sea.

Afterwards we met up with Ben and had the best Steak and Ale pie ever at The Red Lion on Parliament Street. Then another 4 hour journey back to Nicholaston House arriving at 1:30. Kathy had to be up at 7 to serve breakfast but I was only needed at 9 to go in the office 🙂

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May-24-16

Nicholaston House Day 2

posted by mcqueencj

We had a lovely walk last night down from the house past the farm onto the beach at one end of Oxwich Bay. Watched the sun set as we strolled back across the cliffs with a wander over to Three Cliffs Bay one of the most wonderful bays you will see in Wales. We woke up with the dawn chorus to another beautiful blue sky day. We were Up early as Kathy was serving breakfast with Anita the amazing Hungarian housekeeper and I was cooking breakfast with Gary one of the chefs also from Hungary. Seems I will be expected to do breakfast on my own later. Again trying to lose weight will be a problem. It’s so hard to resist a full English breakfast when you’ve actually cooked it! Learning also about checks and recording for food health and safety. There are so many fridges and freezers in this place.

Once the guests finished breakfast and we’d cleaned up Kathy then joined the prayer ministry team to serve some of the guests as this is a prayer ministry week. By all accounts this was very encouraging.

I went into the tiny reception office with Ian an ex-serviceman who met Frank Collins to learn about the admin system for bookings. They are in the process of moving from a manual and largely paper based system to a new bespoke online CRM system. Mind-boggling complications for running the bookings for this place and that is despite there only being 14 rooms and restrictions on what length of room bookings they take. Must admit I had a rather naïve  view on what running a smaller retreat like this would be like.

After a lunch of roasted butternut and coconut soup with garlic bread, I then spent most of my time sorting out the CCLI song recordings. That was fun as I had over 50 prompts to sing worship songs to myself as I got on and entered records of them being displayed by projection via the CCLI website. I was a bit rusty on taking phone calls but managed to work on my polite greeting rather than my usual “Yes what?” That you may get from me at home.

So now Kathy and I have the late afternoon off. We can discard our black trousers and white shirts (we looked like brother and sister stood next to each other) and relax on the beach or up the Bryn behind the house. I believe Kathy has gone off surfing!!

The view towards Three Cliffs Bay

The view towards Three Cliffs Bay

The Celtic Chapel

The Celtic Chapel

Our home for the next two months

Our home for the next two months

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May-23-16

Nicholaston House Day 1

posted by mcqueencj

Well we have arrived and had our first day. Actually we arrived last night at 5 just in time for a chapel time with the managers Owen and Anne Marvelly and some staff and volunteers. The message brought by David and Jane two prayer minister volunteers who spent time with us years ago was of adoption and sonship with the great I AM who I AM. Knowing who we are in Christ, such a vital thing. But knowing God even more so despite knowing that He is also a mystery. 

The day’s work reminded me of Hadrians Task. I had to reconfigure how a cupboard of chairs, tables and books was packed. Seems like I kept moving stacks of chairs in and out. I was pleased with the outcome however. Lunch was a lovely leek and potato soup and excellent conversation with the myriad of volunteers. The afternoon was spent reorganising the vast amounts of art and crafts materials in the art and crafts room and in conversation with Sylvia, a lovely lady I had met a couple of years ago on a painting break. 

Dinner was beef pie with mash and veg followed by a rather large helping of amaretto laced cheesecake. And I am supposed to be losing 2 stone over the two months!

We are so blessed to have this opportunity to serve in a Christian community bringing love and healing to those in need. And on such a beautiful location too!

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Nov-12-15

Day 35 – Home again

posted by mcqueencj

After the seaweed bath we drove on to Rosslare and the ferry, but first stopped at the ‘Last pub in Ireland’ to have some supper and one last Guinness. At the ferry terminal we were told to queue in line 20. Colin duly drove into this ’empty’ line gazing at the lines of motorhomes in lines 17 and 18. We parked round the bend under the covered line assuming it to be the place to be as there were vans there. However, as vehicvles got on the ferry and we were not called Kathy got concerned that the vans all had French number plates. In the end Colin got out and checked with the guy directing traffic. Turned out we’d drove too far round and were in the French ferry line. We nearly missed the Pembroke Dock boat! Phew.

Once on the ferry we settled for the journey of 4 hours with just a bit of rocking and rolling. At Pembroke we drove off and after a few miles parked up at a laybe on a road off the main road next to a river and settled down to sleep before driving home. Torrential rain during the night did not lead to yet another flood adv enture and we woke to a nice view looking over a tidal river near Cosheston.
xlast night

We drove on from Wales stopping for a lovely full breakfast at the last roadside cafe before the M4 (recommended). We had noticed the roads were so much smoother and wider than Ireland, drtiving a motorhome was much quieter but less exciting. The air also seemed dirtier though. Once in England we stopped off in Bristol to drop off a present, driving through Bristol’s St Paul area was a trial the rounds are so narrow and parked up with cars both sides. At last we arrived home around 5pm. The house was lovely and tidy, thanks Julian.

What an adventure! Thank you God for all your protection and blessings.

Nov-6-15

Day 34 Dungarvan

posted by gigmeuk

Colin is sitting in the Solas na Mara http://solasnamara.ie outside Dungarvan on our way home. Kathy said she could do with a bath so she is having one along with a tub full of steaming seaweed! An early Christmas present.

We have had an encouraging but bit less eventful lovely 5 days since the last blog post. On Monday we went with Cyril and Gabrielle to an outreach service in Moy Ross which is a tough estate on the north east of Limerick. A powerful service with great worship and people experiencing the Holy Spirit. Speaking and praying with some of the locals was a moving experience. The 50 mile journey back to Ballybunion lasted 90 mins arriving after midnight. Cyril will know the road blindfold soon I reckon!

On Tuesday we left Ballybunion, Tom, Cyril and Gabrielle feeling a bit sad but excited for stepping out again, heading to Cork City. It was a three hour drive including a search on winding roads to a 4 star campsite near Blarney Castle as the sun set we arrived looking forward to showers, laundry and electric hookup to find the place closed on Nov 1st! So we looked for a pub car park and settled up a dark lane at the Waterloo Inn. Wondering if This was our Waterloo 😜 we went in to find the locals stop talking and stare at us. Yes it really was like that. However, the lovely landlady was happy to let us stay so we had a Guinness and settled down for Tuesday night. Next day we went to kiss the Blarney Stone on Roger Hedley Lewis’s recommendation but baulked at the admission price. Instead we headed off to Cork City.
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Once there we found you cannot park unless you have a parking disc which we did not have. It wasn’t till later we found you had to purchase them in shops. We drove further and further up St Patrick’s Hill along tiny steep lanes till we found free flat parking next to the old army barracks. It was another wild camp on Wednesday night. Colin spent the afternoon walking the streets hoping to talk and pray with someone. Two hours later about to give up he sat next to Eric, in an O’brien’s coffee shop, a lovely young man hoping to break into the Cork rap scene with his version of life walking in faith with God. After an encouraging discussion Colin prayed for Eric to rap out from the heart of the Father. Watch this space for this young man. God doesn’t let us down if we persevere in faith.
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That evening we decided to go to the cinema to see ‘The Martian’. An enjoyable thought provoking adventure a bit like Robinson Crusoe in Space (which has been done before). It became clear to Kathy that this was also an allegory of man trying to survive on alone using his own wisdom. In the end he fails and needs help from the sky and a whole world watching and hoping (possibly praying) for him to survive. There is one line in the film that mentions prayer). At the end of the movie he is seen telling astronaut students that you need to just get on and solve your problems when you are in trouble. An admirable aim but not acknowledging all the help he needed to come through. Without friendship, advice and sacrifice he would not have made it. Wisdom alone can’t keep you alive.

Next morning Colin again spent time on the streets of Cork City, talking with people and in two or three cases praying for them, including several people collecting for ‘Suicide Awareness’ as suicide is a big problem in Ireland. Latest statistics put Ireland 59th in the world and the rate is the highest since records began. There is also big Romanian population some of who have joined local evangelical churches. Colin met a local churchman Billy O’mahony who has been running the Cove Street Fellowship bookshop for many years. We had a great discussion discovering we knew several people in common including Pete Drew. There were other coincidences that were evidence of this being a God ordained meeting. We prayed together and Colin went to meet Kathy for tea on quite a high. We visited the amazing ‘English Market’ buying fresh fish and bread to make Fish Chowder in the evening.
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At 5pm we said our goodbyes to Cork City a place we had begun to really like. We drove on to Dungarvan and after another disappointment of closed camp sites we ended up parking ‘wild’ alongside Davitts Quay with a nearby loo in the SuperValu store 😳. The fish chowder was fab.
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That brings us up to date and the seaweed bath, massage and eyebrow makeover. Kathy has just come out. What do you think?
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Nov-3-15

Day 29 – Another Rising Tide

posted by gigmeuk

Bullybunion

Well it is almost impossible to believe that it is November!!! Today has been like summer and Colin and I braved the Atlantic waves which was an exhilarating but very cold experience . We were the only ones in the sea – maybe the Irish have more sense!!
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So the last blog left us sitting having a Guiness in Killarney. We slept well after a fab meal of roast lamb next to the fire. The next morning we set off (with me driving!! Colin was very quiet 😜) through the mountains around Killarney with the aim of heading to the most south westerly point of Ireland – Baltimore and Skibereen – for Colin to revisit the site of a student field trip experience on Sherkin Isle many years ago. The drive took us over the pass at Ladies View before running down into Kenmare and then on to Bantry.
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We decided to stop off at Loch Hyne for the night. Thus was again a place Colin recalled as a marine biologists dream with an almost land locked sea Lough with a narrow and shallow entrance. He had stopped here on the way to Sherkin Isle 35 years ago. We camped up a layby on the side of the Lough to have lunch. Colin had a football chat with a local wearing a Liverpool tracksuit who said in answer to Colin’s query about seaweed on the wrong side of the layby that he had been trapped by the tide but that we had nothing to fear. We then went off for separate cycle rides as I was demanding some space – I got back to the camper first and as I was making a cup of tea noticed that the tide was starting to creep through the sea wall – an English couple said ‘no need to worry- high tide is at 4.10….. However the tide continued to come in now over the sea wall at which point there was a frantic knocking on the door . The same man saying ‘sorry I was wrong it is obviously a freak high tide and we are off! Suggest you move now!’
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He had a Land Rover and I decided it was too risky to drive the van through the rising water so pulled the other way up a slight incline off onto a grassy verge. I sat there and watched the water rise higher and higher, it got dark and I was surrounded by water with a real fear that it would start to come in the van.
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I decided at that point to start praying and was also starting to wonder if God was using the tides to show me how powerless I really am and that it really is time to stop trusting in my own strength…..

Even the locals (there were 2 men swimming in the loch at the time) were exclaiming loudly about the phenomenon of the tide seemingly continuing to rise well after it should have stopped!

At this point a wet figure appeared at the window – Colin had managed to push his way with his bike through waist high water to get back to the van . I was very pleased to see him (understatement) – these things are much less scary with 2 of you. It turned out Colin had cycled to Baltimore and whilst chatting to locals drinking Guinness watching kids play in the water lapping over the top of the harbour. The locals were bemused at the height of the tide and Colin had idly wondered if the camper would be alright (note to Colin – try to spot when the Holy Spirit is talking!)

Anyway with Colin settling Kathy we cooked up some bangers and mash and the water started to recede. Once the ground was dry enough we drove off quickly in the dark to avoid any further crises. We arrived at a pub in Baltimore and they agreed we could spend the night in the car park. Slept well and awoke to find we were camped opposite yet again another lovely view overlooking Baltimore Harbour and the sun was shining.

Colin now wanted a day to visit Sherkin Isle to get closure on an incident from 35yrs ago. He took the ferry to the island talking with a guy who was moving there with his artist wife – both teachers. Once on the island he set off and found the pub now called the Jolly Roger. It looked exactly the same inside as it did 35 years ago! He decided to trek to the end of the road and the walk around the coast via beaches and cliffs which proved to be a mistake. 2 hours later after risking being barged over the cliff by a bull, having to go in and out of a multitude of tiny coves and fighting his way through 100m of 4ft brambles he got back to the pub. Next stop was retracing his steps to where he lost part of his right ear on a dry stone wall during his one and only adult fight. A few tears and prayers later and the closure was achieved. It’s funny how these things stay with us for years.
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That evening we decided to drive north inland past Skibereen on to Drimoleague and a campsite Cyril and Gabrielle had told us about called Top of The Rock. It was up a very narrow steep muddy track that the Passion Wagon aka Boadicea (Bo for short) managed with some coaxing. There the owner David greeted us so warmly and we had the luxury of hot showers, laundry and electric hook up. David is farmer, campsite owner and pastor. It’s a lovely location with pods to live in (wooden tents that look like upside brown boats) animals to feed, views across hills and a centre for walking several paths such as the 37km St Finbar’s way which Kathy did a little of ending at Castle Drimoleague.

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Next day Friday we drove back to Kilmalloch to see Maggie and the Hanleys. On the way we stopped off at the local AA meeting at Brough. No not because we’d got concerned over our Guinness consumption but because we realise alcohol has caused so much damage in Ireland and we thought we ought to investigate how this organisation works. It was a very honest and moving evening.

On Saturday we cooked everyone an Irish breakfast the watched our nephew Tadgh play soccer (football is Gaelic Football here) for his local team. He did well despite the team losing to some local rivals and we decided a cooked breakfast may not have been the best preparation for running around a soccer field. We then said our goodbyes and drove to Ballybunion via Newcastle West. After negotiating the Halloween celebrations in the village centre we got to Faha where Tom gave us a warm welcome and a lovely meal.

On Sunday Tom drove us to Listowell Church for their 11-1 service followed by soup and sandwiches. What a lovely open and honest congregation they are. People there are seeking God earnestly. The afternoon was spent swimming, yes swimming on the 1st November, as the weather was blue cloudless skies and warm sun. In the evening we welcomed Cyril and Gabrielle back from their journeys and meetings across the breadth of Ireland. It was a good evening followed by a Monday prayer time where God did some significant work. Tom’s home is a place where God does business.

So an eventful week! God did some deep work this week. Rising Tides in deed. Praise Him!n

Oct-27-15

Day 24 – The Killarney Lakeside Hotel

posted by gigmeuk

Well I haven’t blogged since Friday because we have been living in the Wild on the Wild Atlantic Way!! And have rediscovered our joint love of adventure.

We are currently sitting in the bar of the hotel in the title all scruffy and sweaty after a long cycle ride around the Lakes of Killarney. Think we might be the only non-residents but makes it even more appealing and the settees are really comfortable and the view of the lake stunning.
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We camped rough for 3 nights over the weekend. The first night was at a Brit Stop pub – the Junction Inn where you can park in the car park for free – just had a Guinness in their bar looking out over the bay.Colin chatted to the waitress who told him they had had a wedding party turn up that had eaten all the food prepared for a different wedding party without the staff realising it! (Is there a lesson in that??)
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We woke up to wonderful sunshine and drove off along the Dingle Peninsula – there were various warnings about a mountain pass to Dingle Town which was clearly too narrow for the camper. We decided to stop off for a Guiness and get some wisdom from the locals about whether Connors Pass was indeed passable in a camper van. Unequivocal – so Colin decided to drive up to it to see!! I was not prepared for how hairy the pass was – Rock overhangs on one side with a sheer drop on the other with no passing space for a long stretch – there is no way I would have done it but Colin decided to go for it despite several signs saying TURN BACK NOW!! And one guy coming the other way waving his hands frantically mouthing ‘No way’. Amazing exhilarating – our camper emerged unscathed to the top of the pass, it really felt like a significant moment.
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After exploring Dingle we set off to Ventry and camped at a spot right next to the beach and spent the night listening to the waves and a flag pole chattering away in the constant wind. We woke again to amazing views over the water to mountains with wild cloudy skies.
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The next morning we went into Dingle and to the Church of Ireland service – at the lovely manageable time of 12 o clock after putting the clocks back too. It was a peaceful service with communion, old hymns and presided over by Phyllis an elderly ordinand from Bournemouth. Would be good to pray for her – if can’t be easy being an English vicar in rural Ireland covering 3 parishes with numerous miles between. We drove off along the Wild Atlantic Way in the pouring rain to Inch Strand – a fantastic sand bar peninsula sticking out 5km at right angles with a Restaurant/bar called Sammys on the beach. There was also Sammy’s campsite, Sammy’s souvenir shop and Sammy’s holiday cottages! We found a wild camp spot on a wide lay-by high up above the waves and cooked beef pot roast for the evening and woke to the most amazing sunrise the next morning.
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We drove down to the beach where Colin decided he wanted to walk to the end … We had driven the camper 1km onto the beach and I decided I’d had enough walking and would sit and drink coffee watching the waves. It seemed like Colin had been gone for ages so I decided to drive the camper up the beach to look for him – quite scary as the sand became really soft. I turned back as the tide was starting to come in really fast and panicked a bit when I realised how far I’d come. I drove back and parked up to wait for Colin no sign – with the tide was coming in very fast I decided to drive up the beach again to find him – as I turned I realised I was stuck in the sand with the tide nearly at my back wheels. Very scary moment!!! Had the presence of mind to dig out the traction mats Colin had insisted on buying and stick them in front of the front wheels – just sank further in … I was really jittery now and went to find help .. Found a sweet Asian man who held an umbrella over me and seemed to know less than I did about removing soon to be submerged camper vans from the sand – just then Colin appeared, rather wet and tired after his 10km trek along the sand and over the dunes, and got me to get back in with the traction mats behind the front wheels and I reversed as he pushed with the Asian guy. Out we popped from the hole — what a hero!!
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I was pretty shaken up so had to go in to Sammy’s for a Guinness (Guinness seems to crop up quite often!!) ended up having a really good chat and praying with the actual Sammy – an Irish/Pakistani Anglican called Mahmoud who had a vision to travel and bring back stories to expand the borders of the Anglican church in Ireland. He was very much born again and wanted the Holy Spirit to change things in the church – however he said that when the Holy Spirit begins to blow through the church Anglicans often shut the windows! Before we left Colin prayed a blessing for him over the bar, the second person to do that this year apparently, and asked that his dreams would be fulfilled and he would no longer be a bit of a lost soul in Ireland.

Which brings me to our current post cycling round Killarney, something we tried to do 20 years ago with the boys and this time we completed it passing across the bridges at the ‘meeting of waters’ and viewing ‘Torc Waterfall’. To top it all as we ended at Muckcross House we saw a vivid double rainbow. All significant pictures for us of God’s promises and refreshing us with His living water. We have met so many people who have said “Ah you’re lucky with the weather, we had an awful summer”. We know God has blessed the trip with so much great weather! So now We are ready for a good sleep after enjoying adventuring together.
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