Monday 29 July 2013


When Moses said, when David said, when the Bible says, when the song says, when I say...
That ‘The Lord is my Rock’,
What do you think of?

Do you picture a mountain?
Standing proud, chasing clouds
Challenging you to scale its heights
Overcome fears
And share the view?

Do you think of a craggy cave
With secret crevices in which to hide?
Dark depths that hold no threat
A fortress against the enemy
A refuge in which to rest until the storm has passed

Or about the rocks that lie mismatched
Along river beds or cliff bases?
Beckoning you to clamber over them
To feel their surfaces beneath your feet and hands
Each one wears its past like a map
Fractures and fissures and unexpected colours trace their origins

I like a big rock with a polished coat that sits beside the sea and soaks up the sun
After a dip in icy water, i climb onto it and lie, eyes closed, lashes dripping, and feel the heat seep into my skin

Or do you imagine something a lot smaller?
A rock you can fit in the palm of your hand
Like the smooth black stones my grandfather used to collect
Now that he’s gone
I keep one on the mantelpiece
My thumb strokes it
And remembers

Or how about a grain of sand?
Sifting through my fingers
They remind me of my insignificance
But also of a promise
And that God knows
Just like he knows the number of hairs on my head
Just like he knows whenever a sparrow falls

Each grain could tell a story
Each one used to be part of something bigger
-A stepping stone, a cave, a cliff, a mountain
Each one could be traced back to its father
The rock from which it came

Rocks shake and rocks break
They crack
Fall back to earth
They splinter and quake
And crumble and tumble
And destruct and destroy

And I’m not sure how safe you are and how neat a comparison this is?
But you’re not neat – are you?
Beaver said of Aslan, ‘He is not safe, but he is good’

And so I long
Whatever shape you come in
To be a chip off the old block
My Father

My rock

Saturday 27 July 2013


I want to tell you about a new favourite place.  I've been there twice in the last couple of weeks, once with my friend Amber, and then again with my family because it was so beautiful I just had to show them.  I should say credit goes to Cassie, a girl I work with, who recommended the area.

So, just in case you are down this way, I'll tell you where to go, but keep it kind of quiet, OK? :-)

Drive towards Porthcurno, and turn off at Treen a little way before you get there.  Treen is a tiny village with a really peaceful feel.  You can park for £2 at the end of the road in a field, which is next to a cute little cafe (nice ice-creams!).  The first time we went there were lots of campervans parked there, which I made me wish once again that we had one.  But when we get a tent I think we'll have to camp there some time.

Take the path in the left corner of the car park and cross some fields then enter a wooded area.  The path takes you down to Penberth, a tiny cove with fishing boats which again feels amazingly tranquil.  When I went with Amber the sea was so still and blue and clear we just had to have a dip, even though we had only just begun our walk.  Other people passing through had the same idea.

Once you've spent enough time there, climb the path on the right of the cove, heading south west over the top of the cliffs.  It's a bit of a climb, but worth the views that you get.  Isn't it gorgeous?!!

 As you walk along, be prepared for some stunning views... don't forget to bring a camera.  You might get to make friends with some ponies, or spot some butterflies hovering in the heather.
 I could just imagine a pirate ship docking in the bay below.  The rocks on the left are (I think) called Logan's Rock.

Definitely turn off the path to walk down to them because the view around the corner is even more amazing...   The furthest beach is Porthcurno and to the right of it on the cliffs is the Minnack Theatre.  I was so excited about the colour of the sea, felt like we were in the Caribbean or something!  As the tide goes out, you can walk from Porthcurno to the neighbouring beaches.

Porthcurno gets very busy so we decided to try out the first beach we came to, which is called Pednvounder.  At first glance it looks impossible to get to, but there is a path.  It's pretty steep and there's a little climb at the end but by the looks of the ages of people down on the beach, it's do-able by most!

I should also inform you that it is a nudist beach.  Well I'd say half the beach were naked, so as long as you're OK with some brown bottoms and dangly bits then it's definitely worth it because the beach is lovely and the sea amazing to swim in.  As you can see the tide is going out revealing sand banks, making it look even more stunning.

After climbing up out of the beach (we were getting hungry - on both occassions actually - must remember to bring walking snacks!) you can carry on to Porthcurno and beyond if you're feeling energetic, or head back to Treen over the fields.

And there you have it.  A beautiful walk, and plenty of chances to swim in the sea.  Hooray hooray!

Monday 22 July 2013

Back to the Wall of Corn - Appreciating Penzance

OK, so Portugal was amazing, but let's get back to life, back to reality, and back to Cornwall!!

I'll be honest, I've been quite up and down recently (even with the amazing weather!).  Some days are a lot more of a struggle than others, and some days I stop focussing on the moment and I start worrying about tomorrow - mainly about not having and not being enough.  Not enough energy, not enough money, not enough positivity, not enough social 'juice'.  Even though I've been so looking forward to having people to visit, when I feel low I worry that I won't cope.  Everything feels like too much.  But praise God for friends who listen, sisters who phone, neighbours that take me out for ice-cream, a family that knows me, a husband who hugs and praise God that He has enough for me, every day.

So, when it comes down to it, most things I worry about turn out absolutely fine.  A great friend from university came to visit last week and it was such a gift.  She blessed me tons with her generosity and company - now that hubby has started work (hooray!!) it was amazing to have someone to explore, sea swim, enjoy the sun, and have a drink/tea/cake/lunch with. Yeh... also to have someone who appreciates food as much as me! haha!

What was especially good was to enjoy Penzance and see different sides of it other than just work.

We bought tasty pies from The Cornish Hen Deli and ate them in Morrab Gardens.

We volunteered a little and went to some events that were part of The Penzance Literary Festival including a talk by the Penzance Amnesty International Group and improvisations by the youth theatre group at The Acorn.

We swam in the Jubilee Pool, a huge, outdoor, seawater swimming pool.

We drank tea and ate amazing cakes at The Lost and Found Cafe

And... we ate a delicious lunch of mackerel at Mackerel Sky, where I work.  I'm not just saying it because I'm a waitress there, it really is a very good place to eat.

So for all you tourists heading this way this summer, there's quite a lot of good stuff in 'PZ' to check out - don't diss it before you try it! :-)

All in all, last week made me appreciate the place I'm living quite a lot more.  Hooray for that.

And now my family is here for a visit, all the better!

Sunday 14 July 2013

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Portugal 2 - getting connected

I mentioned in the last post about us not making any plans for the second part of our time in Portugal.  We thought mayyybe we'd get a coach across the border to Spain so that I could show Llewellyn Sevilla, where I lived for a year.  But we weren't sure.

As I said, we didn't have the money, or the local knowledge to book anywhere in advance, once our stay at the luxurious apartments was over.  But I've also always wanted to have a bit of a spontaneous adventure.  Nearly all my travels abroad have been as part of team, with most things - especially accommodation - planned for me.  Although I've been to a lot of places, I've not done the 'proper travelling' thing.  I also have read and heard a whole lot of stories of people who free up a few days/weeks/months, and then ask God each day where He wants them to be - and trust that He'll provide the means for it to happen.  I always thought that sounded like an exciting way to live, and so I was really glad when Llewellyn also suggested it, before I'd said anything.  We're learning to trust Him to provide for us financially in Cornwall, so why not take another 'step of faith'?

Neither of us were particularly worried about it - I think if it had just been me I might have been - mainly safety wise - but since there was the two of us we thought worst comes to worst we can sleep on the beach...

At the festival we'd both immediately noticed Alana, Isaac, and their friend Peter... partly due to their dreadlocks, tattoos (and Peter's humongous beard!) and soon got chatting to them.  Before long Peter was playing his didgeridoo with us in the square, Isaac had joined the drummers and Alana came out dancing with us in one of the bars.  When Alana asked what we were doing once the festival had finished and I said I didn't know, she invited us to come and stay with them.  Funnily enough, her mum didn't know this had happened, but had also noticed us and felt like she should also invite us to stay!  Seemed almost too easy, but of course we said Yes!

So after our time in lovely Lagos, we took the train back east to Faro and were met by Isaac and his dad who took us to their home in the countryside north of the city.  When I saw their place I smiled because it had a whole load of my favourite things... , a campervan, a hammock, and a roof terrace!!  Happy Katrina. One day, one day, I'm hoping and praying for all those things :-)  Oh and two dogs and a cat, which Llewellyn is praying for. Haha!

Isaac is an awesome drummer and his dad organises rock concerts, so Llewellyn got to talk lots about music and watch tons of Youtube videos with them.  Happy husband.  One of their best friends is an amazing tattooist so we spent quite a bit of time at his studio.  And yep we got tattooed.  More happy husband!  We talked lots, ate lots, went to the beach, went to a craft festival, ate more, watched 'Falling Skies', drank port/whisky/wine/cider, prayed, chilled, and laughed a lot.

I also discovered some other random (or not random, depending on how you look at it) connections, like with 24-7prayer but also, a few years ago I stumbled upon a blog by a lady living in a rural community in Portugal and it was one of those blogs that make your heart hungry for adventure and for wanderings and for  a life lived outside the box.  Anyways turns out that the lady who wrote the blog is one of their good friends, and one of the main reasons they moved from Italy to Portugal!  AND I met her sister while we were there - an amazing craftswoman who's married to the tattoo artist! Crazy.

Love it love it.  love connections. love people that you feel immediately at home with. love an adventure.

Here's to many more!

Saturday 6 July 2013

Portugal 1 - getting there

So, you might have figured out from previous posts, and from Facebook if you're on there, that we've just been to Portugal.  Last year some time, I think at the end of the summer, when I was still working for my church in Brighton, I overheard my friend Kirsty on the phone in the office.  Kirsty heads up Movement in Worship, and someone had called to ask her if she'd be interested in being involved with a festival in Portugal.  Although I only heard her end of the conversation, as soon as she was off the phone, I told her I wanted to be a part of it!  You know when you just get that feeling in your gut that tells you to go for something?

Forward a few weeks to October time and I was set to be part of the team of dancers and drummers that were going to lead workshops in the festival, and do stuff out on the street.  But I thought it would be great if hubby could come along too, and if so, that we could then have a holiday afterwards.  Llewellyn had never been anywhere in Europe, as having a South African passport makes things a bit tricky.  But we'd decided that he was going to apply for citizenship, so, as they weren't too pricey, we decided to book plane tickets for the both of us, in the hope that everything would be sorted by then.

Well, as you might have read in an earlier post about the trials and tribulations of applying for citizenship, it wasn't a quick or easy process.  Once it had been approved, hubby had to attend a ceremony, then apply for a passport - which included tracking down the one person in Cornwall who's known him for more than 2 years - THEN he had to go to an interview in Plymouth to prove he was who he said he was, which ended up being less than 2 weeks before our flight date, and THEN wait for the passport to arrive in the post.  Preeeetty tight, you could say!

We were fully prepared for the fact that his passport might not have arrived in time.  BUT, amazingly, it did, with a week to spare.  Hooray!!

Orange trees in Faro
It was our first trip on a plane together and first trip abroad.  We decided to leave our 'holiday' part unplanned - partly because we didn't have the money to do book anything, and partly because we both wanted a bit of an adventure and a chance to be spontaneous.  We prayed and asked God to line up some people and/or places for us to see in those few days.

And you know what, He did!  but more on that next time...

Porto de Mos beach, Lagos
We flew into Faro from Bristol on a Wednesday morning, and meandered our way slowly by foot and by train to Lagos, a town further west along the south coast.  It took all day, but we did have beer stops, and sampled locally caught sardines and squid, and sat in the sun.  Lovely!!

The large team of dancers and drummers from the UK and Germany got to stay in some amazing apartments, not far from the beach, which was such a treat.
A lot of us hadn't met before but there was a great atmosphere from the start with everyone excited about being there.  Before he knew it, hubby was roped into becoming the fifth 'Psalm Drummer' for the next few days!  What's great about Movement in Worship and Psalm Drummers is that they are both like a big, cross-cultural family, more than an organisation.  And the way they train people to improvise means that it doesn't matter whether you've drummed/danced together before or not.  We kind of go with the flow, and bounce of each other, and ultimately try to express our love for God with movement and rhythms.

Which is what we did, over four days in Lagos, at a festival in the ampitheatre, in the main square, and in one of the bars!  What I love about drumming and dancing is that you can do it anywhere, and it will always capture people's attention and imagination, and it's easy to invite people to join in, so that each occasion becomes unique and a communal/collaborative event.  I especially loved the way that any time children walked through the square they'd be the first ones to stop and watch and start moving to the drumbeat.  We always had plenty of percussion to hand out when that happened!

The festival was a chance for Christians from all around Europe to gather together to worship and learn and get inspired.  Not loads of people came in the end but hopefully those that did went away feeling blessed.  To be honest though, I much preferred dancing out in the street and in the bars, because it felt more natural and more 'real'.  So often the church hides away in a corner and keeps it's creativity and expression for Sundays and for its own congregations.  If we really believe God's given us freedom and life and love and colour then doesn't it make sense to share it?! :-)

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Roland's Rhythm

Roland’s got a rhythm in his toes
Where they’ll take him next, not even he knows

His toes follow his nose to the salt of the sea
Where the crash of waves fills his ears
And the sadness on his shoulders disappears
...For a while at least
And he strides out east
In search of the sunrise
Waiting for the rays that
Shimmy and shimmer on the sand at lowtide
And the rhythm in his toes
Dances his feet
To the tune of the lightening sky

The morning star
Sings a song of hope
That awakens the beat in his guts
In that innermost part
Where words aren’t enough
Where the hurt and the passion
The questions and the dreams
The laughter and moans
And hunger for home
Combine together
To make him nearly explode

Until a drum is set before him
And the beat in his heart
And the rhythm in his toes
Pour out through his hands
Echoing soundwaves into the air
Causing people for a moment to abandon their cares

Roland’s got a rhythm he can’t help but share
And that’s why we love it
When he drums

In the square

Katrina Quinn, June 2013

I wrote this for a guy we met in Lagos, Portugal.  We ended up drumming several times in the bar where he worked and he joined us drumming out in the town square and at the festival we were at.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Jumping love

I love jumping photos
And I love the people in these photos

And I may well love Portugal too