Saturday, June 02, 2007

Smurf Yeah!

I just have to blog about a crackin' night...

The evening in question was Friday 1st June.

It all started off at about 5pm when Chris and I were barbequing for about 30 Chinese people in our back garden. Yup, you read that right. Chris and I were barbequing.
So these 30 or so Chinese people were all guests of Sheila's (who's house we live in). We decided we would BBQ for Sheila so she could entertain the Chinese with such classic BBQ games like the egg and spoon race with golf balls, not eggs and the three legged race. Ohh, what a hoot of a time they must of had! Welcome to England, ey?!

Chris and I had to leave at 6pm though as we were going into Manchester to catch the Hope Revolution tour ( Blush, LZ7 and thebandwithnoname were all playing and I really wanted to see them and to support the girls, especially after a great Big Deal week in Cheadle Hulme High the week before (that might be a story for another blog). We had a cracking time, rocking out to thebandwithnoname, singing along with Blush and jumping up and down to LZ7. We rocked the party, no diggidy.
I had a great chat with Jess after they had performed and got to chat to Lucy a bit too. Jess was telling me bits about what they had been up to during the week as part of the Riddle of Life in Manchester ( The work all week sounded great and the gig just topped things off superbly. I'm telling you guys, if you want opportunities to share your faith and get actively involved in quality Christian ministry, just take a look at Manchester. The Message ( and the Bible Society ( are just two organisations actively working in Manchester but there is much, much more going on here too. All of this is just one of the reasons why I've come to love Manchester.

But on with the show...

After we had said cheerio to the girls after the gig, Chris and I headed to Matt and Phred's jazz club ( We had been before but seeing as we were just up the road at the Hope Revolution gig, we thought we'd pop in. We didn't stay too long but what we saw and heard when we were there was just brilliant. I've really gotten into jazz over the past year or so and getting the chance to catch it live is always great.

On the way home though we felt a bit peckish. The clock struck 11.30pm (it didn't really strike, I don't think clocks really strike on the half-past) and we decided to go to Tesco and get something. Surprise of all surprises, we bumped into Laura, Chris' sister. She had just finished work and we had no idea she'd be in Tesco! We decided, seeing as she was rather peckish too, that we'd have a BBQ. We were inspired by the Chinese earlier and so decided to get some BBQ items and head back to our's. We were eating our burgers with cheese and BBQ sauce as the clock struck 12.30am. It was delightful.

The rest of the evening/morning was fairly uneventful. We just looked at paddling pools on and threw a mango over the house to each other. I didn't hit the sack (meaning bed) until the clock struck 2.30 in the am. It was one of the best nights I've had in a long time and right now, the only way I think it could be topped was if I was to go to north America in less than two weeks.

It's just as well that I am going to north America in less than two weeks! Smurf yeah!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Let me update

Hello again everyone,
So such a lot has happened since I last blogged. I think this is my longest drought of blogging. If anyone can prove me wrong by going back through all my previous posts then you

Just to update you all on goings on since 1st April -
I think the biggest one was that I celebrated my 21st in pure style. I had a fantastic weekend, I realy did. I started off here in the Manchester area known as Cheadle Hulme by going to TGI Fridays with a few different people and having a super meal and great craic.
It continued the next day as I flew home and spent Saturday evening with good friends I've grown up with. The biggest positive from that night for me was just being me. I think for the first time ever, I felt like Jonathan England met Jonathan N.Ireland and it was just me. I've sometimes felt going home and being with my friends there that they see the same Jonathan that left N.Ireland 3 years ago and not the grown-up changed version that people see in England. It's a very strange thing, I hope some of you can understand where I'm coming from.
So besides me feeling like 100% me, the craic was just amazing! I honestly had such an amazing time with such great people.
Then on Sunday before I flew back for work on Monday morning I went to a lovely restaurant with dad, mum and Amy. We had our meal in this train carriage that had been built into the restaurant. It was a lovely meal and a great way to round off the weekend - with family.

I visited my brother at Capernwray the weekend after my birthday weekend. My dad, mum, sister and great auntie were over too. I had a brilliant time with them and being back at Capernwray for a couple of nights. Andrew is doing Spring school there at the minute and after he finishes Spring school he's going to be working there for a year. He's a good lad.

I've also been working away like a trooper. Work has been busy of late as we gear up for another Big Deal week ( in Cheadle Hulme High School with Blush ( I'll be in school all week with the girls from about 7.30am so it'll be a tiring week as always but so worthwhile. Things are shaping up for a great week!

I'm heading home again this Saturday (26th) until Thursday (31st). Two weeks after that I'm heading back to North America! I can't wait! I can't believe it's come up so quickly on me. I need to start getting stuff together for that really. I'm really looking forward to seeing people again and taking part in Caleb's wedding. I'm so excited to see Jeff as well for the first time in two years!

You know, I think the old blogger has taken a back seat for me at the mo. I think Facebook is taking over. I hope someone reads this blog anyway.

Enjoy these pictures!

TGIs for my birthday

Happy birthday from Chris and Rebecca!

Good friends back home

Family meal in a train carriage

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Hello again friends, family and fans,
I just want to tell you all about one of the best weeks of my life. I know that's a big statement to make, especially as it doesn't involve Basil McCrea, but I think it's one I'm confident of making.

I really want to blog about it too. I really do want people to know what a great week I had. But I think this is going to be one of those blogs that even if no-one reads, I'll just be happy because I wrote it down and posted it.

The week can be divided into two categories -
1. In school joys
2. Out of school joys

I'll deal with number two first if you don't mind -
Andrew, my brother, came and stayed from Sunday to Wednesday which was fantastic. It was great to see him again and to spend time with him. We went into Manchester, went to Wagamama, watched movies and just chillaxed. Beautiful.
Also, my wee country of Northern Ireland is just thriving it would seem! Firstly, Sinn Fein (Catholic political party) and the DUP (Protestant political party), the two largest political parties in Northern Ireland came to an agreement to power share in the new government. This was the biggest and seemingly only hurdle to overcome if there was any hope of our country having any government and this week, for the first time in history, it happened! So amazing!
Not only that, but our wee football team managed to beat Sweden, ranked 15th in the world, at home on Wednesday night, 2-1! What a result!
Then on Thursday night, I went to Andrew's (who I work with) house and had a fantastic steak and chips dinner with him. Sarah, Andrew's wife, didn't have a steak though. She's veggie. Was a lovely evening and even beat them at Trivial Pursuit. Memories of Iceland came flooding back...

So, the second category was 'in school joy'. This is flippin amazing!

It all started on Sunday evening when Sue (my boss), Jenny (the boss' daughter) and Mel (the boss' friend) went to a service in Bramhall to kick off the Big Deal week ( in Bramhall High. It was so amazing! Churches came together, people were praying for the week, young people were doing drama and music and the support for the week was just incredible! It completely blew me away.

The week itself in school was, well, to use the word correctly, awesome. I got on so well with the staff, the pupils and the girls from Blush ( I had such a great time getting to know so many young people as well as meeting so many friendly staff members.
The welcome we had in school from both staff and pupils was amazing. There was so much respect for us as we walked around school and spoke with people. It made everything so much easier and enjoyable. We owe a huge thank you to the school and the RS department for how they treated us and looked after us.
It was great to get to know Jess, Nic and Lucy a bit better too. One of the best things to happen all week with the girls was one day in the staffroom when we had a free period, we just spent like an hour taking pictures on Lucy's mac. I wish I had some of the distorted and freaky pictures to show you but I don't want any children who might be reading this to have nightmares.

I got to introduce the girls too before their gig which was great and even though the crowd were a bit lifeless at times, it was still a good night! One of the highlights of the gig was when Nic came back on stage after her costume change and not only got stuck once, but twice, trying to come through the drapes! Guess you had to be there really...

All in all, I have to say that once again, God has truly blessed me this week. He has encouraged me, challenged me and brought me joy. He finished the week off brilliantly for me yesterday by not only giving me a great time hanging out with Adrienne, Chris and Rebecca but blessing my second driving lesson. God is good and when He smiles on you the way He has on me this week, it is the biggest and greatest smile you will ever see.

Andrew and I stewarding

Lucy's mac meets our beautiful model faces

I think I look like a dinosaur

'I see you baby...'

I hope the girls don't mind me putting this very attractive picture of us all on my blog!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End

Can you feel the excitement!? Thanx to Shreck for inspiring me to put this on my blog

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Return of the Mc...Crea

So I was purely having a giraffe (a laugh) with the whole resurrection of the old Basil McCrea joke. I honestly thought that like Jennifer Lopez's acting career, that this was over. I thought that like Bill Clinton and Monica Legwinsikissiieiki, that this had been put to bed. I really thought that like Tupac, this was dead and buried. I sincerely thought that like Jennifer Lopez's singing career, this had reached a dead end. I genuinely thought that like Jennifer Lopez's marriages, that this had finished long-ago. I had thought that like Jennifer Lopez's...ok, I'll stop with the J-Lo jokes.
I did think this was over though. No more Basil jokes. No more Basil...maybe...

That was until my mum rang me a couple of weeks ago...

It was an ordinary afternoon, just before the elections in Northern Ireland and I was sat in my room in Manchester. The birds were singing, trees were swaying in the wind, the sun was shining and Jennifer Lopez's...ok, so really, I'll drop it...

Then my mobile rang..."Mother" appears on the screen...

In a friendly Northern Irish accent I said, "Hello" (I seem to say that a lot when I answer the phone)
"You'll never guess who has just been to our door!" comes the female tones of my excited Mother.
Now this is where the fun really began. Who could have been to our door in Dromore, Co. Down, Northern Ireland? My first guess was the ghost of Freddie Mercury. My second guess rivalled that with Michael Jackson's former best friend/monkey Bubbles. It was neither of those two though.
Who could it have been? I guessed again with Seal, while singing the song from Batman, "Kiss from a rose". At this point, I thought I was close but the words coming from my mother's mouth weren't ones of excitement or congratulations but rather frustration mixed with a hint of, 'yes-you-are-my-son-but-you're-not-as-funny-as-your-blog-make-you-think-you-are'.

I gave up. Who could have called at our door in Dromore, Co. Down, Northern Ireland? Who could have appeared at our door that would warrant my own mother ringing me to disturb the birds, trees and sunshine that I was gazing off into from my house in Manchester?

Then came the magic words...those words that I never thought I would hear again from another human being...those words that I thought only existed in my dreams and political ambitions...those words that inspire, gladden and enthuse any young man who hears them...those words that rival any cries of, "Long live the true King, Aslan", "For Frodo" or "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"...

"Basil McCrea"

Tears of pure joy, excitement and inspiration formed in the corners of my eyes and soon started falling down my wee Northern Irish cheeks. The man, the myth, the legend, Basil McCrea, had graced our house in Dromore, Co. Down, Northern Ireland with his very presence.

I now proudly own a signed copy of his political manifesto,
"To Jonathan, from Basil" as he inscribed for me with his own political hand. My own sister took a picture of him through the window after my dad had ran down the road after him, grappled with him, took him to the ground and helped him write those life-changing words, "To Jonathan, from Basil".

Maybe someday you too, like me, will get the chance to glance at those words, written beside his shining face on the front of his own beliefs and principals that come printed in a handy and not-too-cumbersome leaflet.
That might happen if I ever get the scanner to work.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A Musically Blessed Week

Hello again everyone,
I was just having a wee joke there about the old Basil McCrea. It wasn't a real blog. It was just a resurrection of an old, yet very funny joke. Basil McCrea.
Anyway, on with the blog...

So I really have had a blessed week that has involved a lot of music it would seem.

I saw The Feeling at the Apollo in Manchester on Tuesday night. They put on a good show but I wasn't as impressed with them musically but I think part of that was that 1. I have listened to their album and wasn't a huge, super, big fan to start with and 2. The Fray were supporting them and if you've not heard the Fray, they are superb! I think I was so impressed by the Fray that by the time the Feeling came on I was ready to go home.

The Feeling did do covers of The Buggles, 'Video Killed the Radio Star' (that was the highlight of the Feeling for me) and Queen, 'Fat Bottomed Girls'. Of course, they had everyone singing along with, 'I love it when you call'.

The blessing on Tuesday night came, not really from the music, but by being back with old friends. Matt, Lee and I went together and it was just great for the three of us to hang out like that. Lee and I got a bit lost on the way to the Apollo, as did Matt who was going separately from us. Ohh how we laughed! It was just fantastic that the three of us could hang out like that and enjoy a gig together. Good stuff.

I think the biggest thing for me this week was being in Poynton High for the Big Deal with Blush. I was only in on Thursday and Friday as I had other commitments Monday-Wednesday but it was cracker to be in with Blush and with Sue on those two days. It was the first time I had seen a full day too. At Hazel Grove High I had popped in and out with Andrew to see bits of lessons but hadn't seen what it was like at breaktime, at lunchtime and other times outside lessons. The Christian pupils in Poynton High really encouraged me as they were just so up for the Blush girls being in and supporting them as well as being so friendly to the rest of us. It was super to get to know Nic, Jess and Lucy a bit better too when we had free periods between classes.

The gig on the Friday night went well. Not sure what the response to the Gospel was but I know a few young people went to some of the response team and gave them details about themselves so we'll see what that looks like on Monday morning when we're back in the office.

The skip that was set fire to at the back of the school did cause some disruption at the end of the gig though...

But everyone was safe and sound when all was said and done. God is good.

You know (and here's the deep and meaningful bit), the heart of what we do at Christians in Schools is relationships. It been amazing to see how, since joining Christians in Schools, God has really shown me, very clearly, what relationships are about.
Since joining, He has given me new, great, wonderful relationships and at the same time, He has given me other relationships that have been tough and challenging.
It's like He has cleared everything aside and put relationships under a microscope just so I can study them, enjoy them and love them so much more than I ever have done. He really has brought into sharp focus what it means to relate to people.
It's not easy, it's not always a joy but when He does bless those relationships, when you do put yourself second and focus on God, and God alone first, then that's when you see how rewarding, fulfilling, encouraging and special those relationships really can be.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Guess who's back?

That's right folks, voting time again in Northern Ireland for the second time in our history. Men and women will be voted in to power, men and women will fight when in power, men and women will get a pay-rise when voted into power, men and women will have no influence in British policies when voted into power and ultimately, men and women will do nothing worthwhile for the people when in power.


One man will remain. One man who is 45 years old with two children, a man who has worked overseas in countries like Germany. He is a new face to Northern Irish politics with new thinking.

I'm not saying he'll do anything worthwhile either when in power, but he is...