Saturday, 6 September 2008

Forum 2008 Part 3 - Other Assorted Highlights

I thought I ought to post the more serious highlights of Forum 08 first, which I have. (Have a look at The Important Bits and Home and Away). But there are a bijillion other reasons I loved Forum. So, in no particular order, here are my assorted highlights...

Chatting to random smoking tramp at Oxford station
Started well, as I explained I work for a Christian charity. Went slightly pear-shaped when I mentioned students... he's not a fan.

Looking like a well-dressed farmer
To be honest, this was the most appropriate look for Forum 08. And Mr Martin didn't laugh at my wellies for long...

Realising my new Team Leader can get me to do anything
One of the joys of Forum was getting to know my new colleagues. I got chance to bond with my lovely South East team mates, which was quality. And I soon discovered the uncanny ability Nay Dawson has to get me (and quite a few others) to do mad things. As a team we visited the Darkie Tunnel, a 421m long, unlit canal tunnel "to sort out who the wusses on the team are." I'm not sure any of us were wusses, so I may have been picked arbitrarily. Then on Thursday we provided dinner for poor water-logged Reading and Surrey CUs. The lady on the checkout thought we were mad, but in the end it was quite fun. Sadly, the range of pinnies in Sainsbury's was quite limited...

Reading and Surrey CUs
Two of my CUs were at Forum - Reading Uni CU and Surrey Uni CU. They were a lot of fun, if slightly lame at providing tea (it took Surrey 28 hours to make me a cup of tea. RUCU never managed it). I was amused to walk into the Big Top one evening and see RUCU sitting in a row eating chips. And I got very paternal when Surrey and RUCU were being nice to each other. It's nice to see the kids getting along.
The RUCU boys were also spectacularly rubbish at putting their tent up. It took three goes, and over an hour...

Close encounters with the dish washer
One of the privileges of being a new staff worker is that you get the joy to serve by supervising the washing up. Seriously, it's more stressful than it sounds, although I like to think I maintained an efficient but fun kitchen. Except on the day the drain clogged up. I had to step up and do the manly thing - I had to stick my arm in (up to the elbow) and remove the tinned pears, lemon slices and two forks that had ended up in it. I washed my arm 3 times and it was still pretty manky.

Serving Tea
On the last day I found I was part of the masterplan to provide everyone at Forum, campers included, with a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. Along with Jema B, I manned one of the tea stations. It was a mad idea, but in the end it was quite fun.
"Do you have coffee?" "No, but that one's quite strong."
"Get your tea and get out!"
"Is it just tea?" "Would you prefer hot chocolate?" "Yes" "Oh. I haven't got any, I was just asking."
I'm not sure how many teas we served, but it was at least 150. I particularly enjoyed Nay's masterplan, which I think could be a plan for world domination if it was scaled up.

A legendary game, created by Chris Oldfield. Quite simply boule, but with veg. I played with two onions, but lettuce and sweet potatoes were also involved. Eventually, an aubergine won, having been expertly wielded by Adam Wilson. I'm hoping for a rematch in a year's time. Sadly, John Piper was too busy to play, but he was definitely keen.

Back to the real world
On the way home I got a text from a northern colleague, telling me that they were in a northern cafe where toast was 10p cheaper if you had a crust, and you had to pay 30p to rent a tray. I, on the other hand, was in a service station where I had half a chicken, some reconstituted mash (we actually asked) and a diet coke. My dinner cost the same as lunch for Peter's entire party. You've got to love the south.


Jane K said...

Gareth, you have God given talents in the kitchen and it is good to see you still using them!

Matthew said...

When Bish linked to these posts I tried to figure out where I knew your name from... now I remember you serving me tea!

Anonymous said...

ferndale 'news' ehem!!