I have been besieged by information. Lots of it. So much of it, that just as I am about to process one piece, the next comes in and prevents that process happening. Haphazard chunks of vital knowledge get thrown at me like a ball around a ring with me in the middle trying to catch it (and constantly rueing being only five foot seven).
New boy syndrome. By the time I've been here six months it'll all be second nature... I keep telling myself this.
The two constant questions of the week: is it very different from what you were used to? Are you enjoying it? Yes, and yes. Will that do? I don't think I have yet done anything stupid... So that's a plus, anyway.
Matt has been in a sulk for days. He's had his whole routine changed - and (like his master) he's a creature of enormous habit, so this came as something of a shock to the poor dog. My wonderful neighbours are taking him out during the day whilst I'm at the university, and that takes the worry off me, but Matt is not best pleased. His meal time has changed, his walk routine has changed, his alarm call has changed, in fact everything is different & he didn't ask for it! He's been pretending to have a bad back to show me how displeased he is. It is a pretence - he doesn't do it all the time, a dead giveaway. And there are just the first signs that he might be accepting the new regime: he is walking up to speed as we leave the house now, rather than imposing an initial 100 yard go-slow.
A couple of cultural highlights, a social moment & a spiritual kick at the end:
The university has an art gallery. I had a wander around during my first lunch break. It's all northern. I mean, all the art is northern; very brown. The subjects all look bored, and you kind of get the feel the artist was too. And then there is a room with an exhibit by Carlos Nadal, last of the Fauvists, and suddenly there is brightness and colour everywhere. It felt like I was being assaulted by life - it was a glorious, physical experience.
Today I took the advice of an FB friend and found the National Media Museum in Bradford & saw a film at the IMAX screen there, Super 8. The film was good, and I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed the venue even more - simply amazing. I loved the place, and look forwards to going back and taking a proper tour of the museum. A decent 3D movie on the IMAX will be wonderful, and the small screen there does great art house stuff; there's a film about referees at the 2008 Euro Championships right now; if I had chance I'd see that.
Last week I had Richard & Sarah over for supper. They are a couple I got to know very slightly in Ponty, and they've also moved up to Leeds. This week I went across to their flat. They really are lovely, and we had a super time - it's a real gift to have found friends to meet up with so quickly here. We laughed a lot - mostly at each other - and I was introduced to Waitrose Salt & Vinegar Crisps With a Twist of Lemon. Seriously. They were excellent. Ah Waitrose; it's so much nicer a shopping experience.
One enormous difference of course between my old routine and this is the space for prayer & worship in the day. Sometimes I used to create clear space and sometimes I knew it would kind of permeate the day in different ways. It doesn't quite permeate the day so clearly in the office now. This does feel different, and I need to get used to it. The drive in & out is a great opportunity. I bought Matt Redman's latest on my iPhone, so I've been listening to that. There are some nice songs there, and they have been tuning my heart to worship as I have started my day. But I want to have to do better, and I don't think I ever foresaw the way in which my old worship life would need to find a new rhythm.
Like everything else, I'm hoping in six months' time, this too will again be second nature. My job may no longer be about worship, but my heart remains so; so I need to make sure in the new regime & through the unfamiliar early mornings, my heart can still sing clearly to its purest beat.