Rucksack on my back I ventured out on Friday to Cheltenham on the train for a weekend camping with Christians. Not perhaps the most obvious way to spend the last bank holiday weekend of the year.

All I really knew about the weekend were these three things:
There wouldn’t be any big tent, revival style meetings

There would be a fair amount of chat about faith and politics and the arts

My good friend FF (who, by the way has been writing some interesting thoughts on leadership on her blog recently) would be there.

Would it be sunny? Would it be provocative? Would there be collective singing? Would all the men have beards and wear socks with sandals? Would the women look like the Amish? Would I get any sleep at night?

These things I did not know.

When I arrived our site had already been set up and Jesus and Mary were already there, looking after the tea and coffee.  It felt like whatever happened, I’d come to a good place.

I saw trapeze artists perform dance, heard Jacqui Smith talk about porn, listened to people’s expressions of doubt, gave a standing ovation to an atheist, cried over a story about an appearance of Our Lady to someone’s mother, went speed dating (more on this later), drank lots of tea and coffee and ran into all kinds of people I’ve not seen for ages.

The sun shone, I was provoked and consoled, there was singing of all kinds, I slept soundly (although I’m sure my snoring meant other people didn’t) and the men and women didn’t look, on the whole, too odd.

Well I say that but everything in its right place – I was wearing clothes I wouldn’t EVER normally wear in combination quite happily – a mix of the need for warmth, an attempt to demonstrate my ethical/earth woman of the world credentials and a way of looking quirky enough to fit in with this quirky bunch of people.

When I woke up this morning, I gave some thought to how much of this outfit I could incorporate into my normal life. Perhaps the hat??


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