It was a peculiar day last Monday as I awoke around 6am. What made this day peculiar was the sun shinning at that time of day. To make the day extraordinary was this sunshine lasting, not just on Monday but for the entirety of the week. A sunny morning is probably the only way to positively start a Monday, and it made what was to come a lot more enjoyable. I was leaving the civilisation of Swansea for a challet in Pwllheli, North Wales, on a train that would take seven and a half hours to get from the south of Wales to the north, passing through a completely different country in order to get me there. However there were some amazingly wonderful views as we passed Powys on the train and eventually into the mountain country of north Wales, with the sun still shinning.
An eventful tarin journey followed, getting to know Terry and Julie; a yacht owning couple whom were putting up with slowest train in the history of trains to obtain their new purchase. It was an enjoyable time, getting to know the couple, despite their confusion over why a graduate would go to north Wales to steward a Christian conference and not get paid for it. Conversation flowed, but seven and a half hours is too long for any one to make polite chit chat, and I resulted to talking about the weather, Wales, the weather, trains, the weather, boats, the weather, UCCF, the weather, NWA, the weather, Christianity, the weather. Did I mention the weather. After about four hundred stops we finally reached Pwllheli, said our goodbyes and began my venture to the conference centre.
Gogledd Cymru, or North Wales, is very different to South Wales. I think it might be the people, I’m not sure. But I set out for the Haven holiday park, host to New Word Alive. Even a caravan park looks half decent when the sun is shinning. This would be my base camp for the week, as I set out on my life time ambition as a steward at NWA (despite the conference only being three years old and that I had zero motivation for stewarding until this point in my life).
I jumped straight into my role as general dogs body, lifting wooden boards, moving chairs, putting them pack again, sweeping the outside (why do you need to sweep outside? I didn’t understand that). I was great to see me fellow stewards, mostly relay workers who I knew already and the banter began to flow.
I began to get a little excited about the week, an opportunity to experience NWA from a different angle, to serve others in some capacity and put grace into practice. Grace was probably the biggest thing I learnt from the week, how much I need it and how little I really pursue it. But I need to drink the gospel prune juice to clear out my clogged up religious rubbish and sin, but thats’s a different talk to be spoken of another time.
Monday was coming to an end but there was one last adventure to be had. A little tradition was made by a couple of us Relay lads, a tradition of fine coffee drinking from a ingenious contraption to make the coffee from. A pair of tights. Being men, none of us had any spare tights so we hit Pwllheli town centre hard, the only problem being that it was about 10pm and everything in Pwllheli closes at about 2pm. But thankfully the Spar was open.
What happened could, and should be developed into a joke. Two Scotsman, a Spaniard and a Welshmen walked into a Spar looking for tights…
I looked up and down the aisles, but I had little hope. There were no tights in sight. I should have listened to the advice of a wise Scotsman, but I didn’t. Give up, they obviously don’t have tights.
Ignoring such wisdom, and despite their being no tights on display, I continued to the till to ask for some. What happened next was very awkward for everyone involved.
I went to the till, and to some coinscidence the shop became unusually busy for 10pm. Maybe six or seven folk were hanging around the till area, as well as two Scotsmen and a Spaniard. I went boldly up to to the woman at the till and asked in a confident voice,”Excuse me. Do you have any tights?” Why I asked in way tha suggested I was asking her personally instead of inquiring as to the shop itself stocked them I do not know.
She gave me a look that was followed quickly be a nervous chuckle. “No. I don’t.”
At this point I realised that I had led us, the team, into a hole. No worries, I would use wit and charm to escape our situation. “Don’t worry,” I proclaimed, “we are trying to make coffee.”
I’m not sure how much hope this gave the poor woman, I think it confirmed in her head that a mental guy was in her shop with a wierd desire for ladies tights.
I gave it one more stab, in a final declaration of the normality of my situation and request. “I’m not a pervert! I’m not a perve don’t worry!”
I think this made her worry more, as I gave up the battle to regain some credibility, deciding that the time called for our departure from this horribly awkward situation…tightless.
Day one down, it could only get better. I went to bed, eager as to what my first full day of stewarding would entail.