OK, so this is the first proper entry from my “Magical Case”, and although I said I would probably do these in the order they are in the gallery, I have changed my mind for this week. The reason being that the first set of items will take a while to write about properly, and it’s currently 2:20am. So I have settled for the second set, which is a bunch of stuff from the summer of 2005, more specifically from my adventures at Soul Survivor that year.
Soul Survivor is a big Christian event which happens every summer, it sprung from another event called New Wine which happens in the same place also in the summer. Soul Survivor is essentially the youth version of New Wine, and it’s a week of Bible teaching, praise, and some general madness. There are fantastic teachers there every year and around 10,000 people gather each week it runs (there are currently two Soul Survivor weeks, and one week called Momentum which is specifically for students), and main meetings are held in a big top which are amazing. You don’t often get to praise God in the company of 10,000 other people!
This year was particularly manic for me, even more so than most of my years at Soul Survivor. To begin with I went to the student week, momentum. This year I went on my own to meet up with some students from another uni who I didn’t really know. This was mainly because noone else from Leicester had shown much interest, and when I mentioned it to Nikki she said a bunch of her friends were going and I could camp with them. So I hopped on a train from Nottingham down to Castle Cary, a small station a short bus journey from the campsite. I met Nikki at the station and then met the strangers I would be spending the next week with at the campsite.
Week one then proceeded pretty much as normal for Soul Survivor, there were many late nights and early mornings, we hung out and had fun, we ate terrible camping food and spent lots of money on sweets in the cafes. The really exciting bit (apart from getting to spend a week with Nikki which was ace) happened towards the end of the week. In one of the main meetings they gave an appeal for people to stay on for the following week as stewards because they didn’t have enough. I decided that since I had nothing better to do with my summer, and it would be free, I would do that.
So at the end of week one I waved goodbye to Nikki and my other new found friends, and in the lull between everyone leaving and the next lot arriving I moved my tent from the plot I was on to my new location right next to the stewards area. Then the madness really began!
There are a number of good points to being a steward (or indeed any other kind of helping hand) at an event like this. First of all it’s completely free to do aside from travel costs, they even provide meals for you. Being a steward meant that I had access to the stewards lounge (which was actually outside, but it was fenced off), which is where we spent a lot of our free time between shifts. And even though we were really busy during the week, we still had enough free time to go along to some of the seminars and gigs, and we were in most of the main meetings (all be it on the doors working). The real killer though was that I had already spent a week camping and not sleeping much, and I had to spend a second week sleeping even less, having the same smelly clothes and working pretty hard all day. By the end of it I was totally shattered and very glad to be home and able to sleep!
Some of the highlights of the week were:
- Meeting a fantastic guy who we all called santa, he even had a santa suit with him which he wore on the last day
- Having to use a codeword whenever we talked about money on the radio (can we have some more caviar up at the main entrance please)
- Finding a sledgehammer in the stewards lounge and using it to smash full water bottles
- Driving a buggy around the campsite at at least 5mph!
To conclude my epic two week adventure down south, I stood at the main gate whilst everyone was leaving holding a big cardboard sign saying Nottingham. A minibus full of youth offered me a lift as they were heading up the M1, but I declined as that would have left me stranded on the wrong side of Nottingham. Then a kind lady offered to take me to Birmingham, I accepted and she drove me all the way to the station where I used my return ticket to get back to Nottingham. I was quite excited about meeting someone new and chatting all the way home, which we did for a while until I fell asleep. It had been a long week!
Wow… having started by saying I didn’t want to write for long as it’s so late, I’ve written quite a lot… and it’s now 2:50. Anyway, there you have it, some of my fond memories from the summer of 2005.