Feeling the need to blog. Not sure what to title this entry. Feeling the need to write stuff and not sure where to start!
Last week was manic. From Monday to Wednesday I was at Express - the residential for the wonderful Platform2 volunteers who have just returned from their overseas trips.
Express always feels like hard work - it's a bit of a schlep to Irthlingborough and the staff enjoy long days, sleepless nights (the beds are a bit lumpy) and a diet of carb-heavy fillers. If we can put that aside however we see glimpses of creativity that make us grateful to have been a part of this amazing programme.
The final session last week included creative writing to make you cry, drama to make you gasp, artwork to inspire you and a song that had us all on our feet singing and clapping. I'm in awe of these youngsters - not just the returnees but my staff team too - for their amazing commitment, enthusiasm and passion to be the change they want to see in the world.
Wednesday lunchtime saw me joining a couple of staff and our amazing gap year volunteers journeying from Express to the staff conference. Minibus, train, another train, coach... public transport can be tiring and tiresome especially with a fused spine and heavy luggage (even if I had posted all my dirty washing home!)
Was it worth the effort? Most definitely - but difficult to describe the experience of realising you are in a special place, at an inspiring conference that you and others will get a great deal out of, whilst at the same time not "enjoying" it.
Sure there were special moments - and facilitating a small "homegroup" was a privilege that enabled many of them. In view of our success I am considering applying for the Apprentice next year ;-)
But there were a lot of tears too. Colleagues, friends, staff at the conference centre all commenting that I looked unwell. Stupidly thinking that since I could not join in the barn dancing the next best thing would be to watch. And dissolving into another soggy mess.
But the tears were noticed, by friends and colleagues who made sure I had a space to cry where I would be well supported. By those who bought me gin and tonic or red wine and made me laugh again. If you were one of those angels thank you.
Thank you to Brian Draper for leading us in a wonderful life changing session on Thursday morning. And for noticing I was crying and wanting to help. Thank you too for your book which I believe is a life changing read.
It has never felt so good to be home. To realise that Corrie can be renewing. As can the sofa and a glass of red. To sink into a hot bath. To make and eat a Caesar salad. And to revel in the softness and comfort of my memory foam mattress!
More of the same next week as we return to Irthlingborough for the final Express. Will be so sad and sorry to say goodbye to my fantastic team. But looking forward to a massive celebration with staff past and present next Friday as we party into the night!