soarlikethebirds.com Redirect

soarlikethebirds.com has been redirected to this address: matt.midgley.name as a result of a site merger. I’ve had a blog of some form or another for at least eight years now and until recently was attempting to run two – neither of which got updated often. In an attempt to keep things simple, I’ve decided to have all my content on one blog/site. Please be patient while these changes are made, things could be a bit of a mess for a little while.

Gargantuan Portions

I was over in the States recently and after an enjoyable family event, we went to celebrate at Leatherby’s Ice Cream.  I’d already had a lunch of fairly epic proportions at Thanksgiving Point and so was looking for something that would hit the spot while not over-doing it.  I scanned the menu and came to this delicious looking section:

Leatherby's Menu

Innocent looking enough isn't it?

I thought the pictured sundae was to give me an idea of what I would be getting and so settled on Jill’s Cookie Concoction (apologies for the small print, it’s the best I could get).  I didn’t really like the sound of ‘arcadia avalanche’ and so settled on the two scoops of cookies & cream.  Note the word scoops.  A few minutes later, this is what arrived (I ate the cherry before I took the picture):

Jill's Cookie Concoction

Dear reader, what is the difference between a scoop and a boulder?

What is that!?  It’s a monster.  What are those?  Boulders of ice cream.  Do I have to eat it?  Yes.  I really was most surprised to have this delivered after seeing the sundae on the menu.  Not wanting to miss such an epic opportunity, I got to work.

Almost there...

Some time later, it's 'Justification O'Clock'

It’s okay, I ordered ice cream, I ate the ice cream.  But what about the cookie?  Yeah, what about it?  You haven’t eaten it.  I know.  You can’t leave that now!  Okay.  Gets back to work….I do have to note though, during the demolition that occurred on said ‘sundae’, I managed to get ice cream on the new suit I was wearing for something like the fourth time.  I was supposed to be wearing it for my brother’s wedding just three days later.  Fortunately, someone invented dry cleaners and the story goes no further.  Oh yeah, I was really annoyed about that way it happened too.  It didn’t just fall off the spoon, that would have been okay and down to my own carelessness but that’s not how it happened.  See that giant cookie?  Is started in one big piece.  I couldn’t fit it in my mouth all at once so I decided to break it up.  I was expecting it to be soft but it was a bit of a tough cookie so I proceeded to jab it with my spoon until it gave way.  Eventually it did give way and in doing so, blasted the ice cream that was sitting underneath it down my front and up my sleeve.  Brilliant.

Success!

Jill's Cookie Concoction: 0 - Matt: 1

So there we have it.  I won, gained some weight and felt pretty pleased about it.  Portions in America are generally much larger than those in England.  Be careful what you wish for!

Sunsets: Natural Art

Just a wee note to let you know that I’m still around and writing.  I made another successful ferry crossing back from the Emerald Isle although the return trip wasn’t quite as smooth.  There was a considerable amount of that rocking thing going on and I had to take a break from typing a letter to a good friend so I didn’t end up making a call on the big white telephone.

I can’t believe ground school starts in little over four weeks.  It’s a most exciting thought, to know that I’ll be moving ever closer towards a career as an airline pilot.  I’m a little nervous too, it has been a long time since I’ve been in full time studies.

I took some photos a few weeks back that I thought I’d share.  The picture of the robin was perfectly timed, I was walking along the path and it landed on a branch right in front of me.  Another one did that earlier but flew off before I could get my camera ready.

Going to the MTC (Missionary Training Centre)

Hi all, it’s Matt’s sister, I am going to try and give you some info about him going to the MTC; it will not be as good as he does so I apologise in advance and hope that you enjoy my attempt.

Well we left home at about 12:20 on the 10th October 2007 to go to the MTC and we arrived around 1:35. We went to distribution and got some journals for him while he is on his mission, and then it was time to go over to the MTC. We had some pictures outside then went in. When we arrived we had lots of people to greet us. Mum was given his badge to put on, it was lovely to see. We had to get his luggage labelled and weighed and then it was taken to his room. We were taken to a room I can’t remember which. While we were in there we were shown a video about the MTC and the MTC President and his wife spoke for a couple of minutes. Then it was the hard part, it was time to say goodbye. It was hard but we all know he is doing the Lord’s work and would not want him anywhere else. Well I hope you got some thing from this and I have not made too much of a mess. This may change when he can get to a computer and wants to add or take any thing out. He will be in the MTC for 15 days so it’s not long till he will be out in Ireland doing the work. Hope you enjoyed this.

Emma

P.S. Sorry you have no pictures, I could not find out how to do it.

Last Day at Work

It’s been a while since I’ve updated – er, sorry. I still need to write about the last few days in Nauvoo, I’ll get round to it (I think). I now have 14 days or 1,209,600 seconds or 20,160 minutes or 336 hours or 2 weeks until I enter the MTC (Missionary Training Centre (Center)). 2 weeks seemed a while until someone just said 14 days. Hmmmm, I’ll miss my bed! And a few other things like my car, computer (haha what a geek!), home, village oh and family, mustn’t forget to miss them – or my friends.

Now, last day @ work. I was going to put last day of work but I’m never going to stop working – that’s when things get boring. So, it was my last day at work. For for the past 10 months (not including Nauvoo) I’ve been working as an IT Assistant for a group of small luxury hotels. This involves general end user support, server maintenance, other hardware maintenance, phone system support, Internet access and SPAM to name a few. It’s been an amazing job, very nice place to work and equally nice people to work with. There isn’t much that could persuade me to give it up – but a full time mission could.

There wasn’t much work to do – I started off by checking the SPAM reports for genuine messages being caught in the filter. From what I could see, there weren’t any in amongst the 1400 pieces of SPAM – very good. That means the system is working how it should. Whoever makes a system that won’t ever catch a genuine message will make a few $$$. Hopefully we’ll get there one day – or completely obliterate all spammers. After that there wasn’t a great deal more. I had a look at a laptop and installed a few bits of software. One being openoffice. Openoffice is an office suit very like Microsoft Office but this one is free. Interested? Check out openoffice.org. Now I’ve finished promoting openoffice, lets move on.

The next major thing I can think of is a visit from the new general manager. He came to talk with me an the IT manager so he could get an overview of how IT is used across the business. After that, well, er yeah. Towards the end of the day, we went round the Hotel, took some pictures and said bye to people. Lets have a look at some of the pictures.

Me at my desk in the office. That's about all there is to it. There's that laptop I was talking about.

Me 'working' in the server cabinet. Of course, we can work on the servers remotely but it doesn't look as cool does it?

Yeah, I was working hard! You have to make sure the server is functioning normally in every possible way. MS Paint is one of them - I think.

Just chilling, as you do.

The weather ain't always great but it sure does make things look nice and green.

Bit of a cheesy grin on that one but the other one had rain drops on the lens and we didn't have any more of this view.

Well that’s all for now on the pictures. Don’t want to make you feel too ill. I’ll be back sooner than last time.

Matt

Letter From The Prophet!

Today was the day. The one we’ve all been waiting for. I was so unsuspecting; I arose at 7:30am and got ready for work and then went to work. While I was talking to someone on the phone about a phone line in a conference room, someone from home tried to call me on the other office phone. I was busy talking to someone so I couldn’t take the call. A few minutes later, my mobile (cellphone) started to ring so I knew it must be important and so finished the call about the phone line in the conference room and managed to take the call on the mobile (cellphone).

If you made it through that paragraph, you’re doing well. Anyways, I took the call and one of the first things that was said was: It’s here!

Of course, I knew what ‘it’ was. I decided to wait until home time (about 5 hours time) to open the call for two reasons. 1; if I went home to open it I wouldn’t want to go back to work and 2; They were going to bring it to work for me but I declined as I’d always dreamed of opening it at home!

The rest of the time at work went quickly as I was moving from one thing to the other all day. I arrived home and everyone was at the door to meet me and the call was immediately passed to me upon entry to the house. The thing was, my sister wasn’t due from work for another hour. So, this is what happened:

Around 12:00pm-1:00pm the mission call arrives on the doormat (we have a hole in the door you push post through, not a thing on a post at the end of the driveway).

Mission call at the ready just after entering the house.

Waiting for Emma to return home from work. I was fairly calm considering the next two years were on my lap. The time did pass quickly considering what we were waiting for. Then...the time came.

Starting...

Starting...(from another angle!)

Almost there...

Arranging it so I didn't skip the intro straight to the assignment...Note the anticipation on Elmo's face.

Dear Elder Midgley:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the…

...Ireland Dublin Mission.

WOW! Not what I expected. Come to think of it, I don’t know what I expected. Amazing! I don’t know how to put this ‘on paper’. I’m so, so pleased. It’s a great place to go. I have the advantage of not having to learn a new language and not having strange food. (Strange food is defined as: Curry, Mexican, Chinese, meat (I hate meat! It’s gross, I don’t know why everyone is so impressed by it. Fish is the way forward.

Well, that’s that! There are a few thing to finish off and I’ll be going in no time. I’m due in the Preston Missionary Training Centre (Center) on Wednesday 10th October 2007.

The next two years, right in my hand.

Straight onto the calls to family and friends.

Already feeling the strain. Note to self: Don't work in a call centre (center). Oh, and... get a hair cut!

I think that’s all for now!

A big thanks to Ed and Mum for the photos.

Matt

Mission Call Update

Hi all, this is an email I’ve just sent out to a few people:

Hi All,

I hope I didn’t send you in to shock with the first part of the subject of this email. The update is: Peggy (an amazing person who works in the Pageant office) has been in touch with someone at Salt Lake. They have replied saying the my assignment was only just made today. This wouldn’t be mailed out until Tuesday – they asked where I would like it to be sent. It’s going to be forwarded (electronically (I hope!) to the Church offices in the UK who will mail it out from there. Providing no-one is slow, it should be at my house next week.

Matt

So, there we go. I’ve just re-read the printout of the email from the guy in Salt Lake and the call WILL be being printed at the England office and sent home from there.

Matt

Approx 14400 Minutes

Hi All! (I don’t know who you all are anymore!) It’s now only about 14400 minutes until I arrive in Nauvoo to start work with the rest of the work crew. I can’t believe how fast it has all gone. It’s one year to the day since I set off last year but I didn’t arrive in Nauvoo until the 19th (I think) because I spent a couple of days visiting church history sites with a family friend.

That’s about it! I’m still excited, can’t wait to get through customs and can’t wait for the ‘great’ weather. (Who in their right mind would call it great weather!) It’s supposed to be summer here in the UK but on Friday we had an entire months rain. As I look out of the window now, it’s awfully gray and I have absolutely no desire to go and sit out in the garden. Oh yeah, I try not to complain about things on here BUT… how is this global warming!? (I’ll stop right there).

Things are almost complete with my Mission papers. I only have one thing left to do and they’re off. I’m having the call sent to Nauvoo so I’ll let you know when I do (but not before my Mum (Mom for my American readers!!!)).

O.K. I think that’s all for now, I could always start another post if I think of something else. As an extra special treat, I’ll add the picture I attached to my Mission papers.

No Laughing!

Matt

Retake: Accepted for the 2007 Nauvoo Pageant

I don’t think I did the last post justice, I talked more about the holiday than the acceptance to the work crew. I’ll try again: Last year was unbelievable; the people we met and worked with were amazing, the work we did was amazing and the friendships we made will last a lifetime. I can’t wait to do the same again. There are a few things I’m glad I have a second chance at as well – e.g.. on a few of the jobs we were given I didn’t put in 100% effort; I want to make sure I do this time.

I also look forward to working with many of the people I did last year – especially returning members of the work crew. Some of the experiences we had are just impossible to describe – the ones where you just had to be there to understand the meaning fully. Text/words/audio/video don’t quite do some experiences justice.

As for those who are unable to return for whatever reason, wether on the cast/crew/other volunteer I wish you well. I hope you never forget the experience you had. Hardly a day has gone by where I haven’t talked or thought about my experiences. There is a high chance this will be my last visit for some time; I will be on my Mission for the next two years and it’ll have just finished until 2010 so I won’t see it until at very least then. However, I could be doing anything in 2010 wether it’s airline pilot training or another job to do with computers. We’ll soon see.

Matt Midgley

Accepted for the 2007 Nauvoo Pageant

It’s been way too long since my last update! Things are still going great at work as well. I’ve recently returned from an amazing visit to Salt Lake City – there was so much to do in so little time. It was great to see so many people I worked with in Nauvoo including Bonnie, Peggy, Linda, Steve, Blake, Jay, Mike, David, other Steve, and TC to name a few. I also managed to see a few of the work crew guys (And some people from the cast!!!!!!!!!) but didn’t have time to see everyone. Especially the one who just HAS to be awkward and live all the way over in Texas mentioning no names (JARED!!!). We’ll just have to get re-acquainted this year – especially over a meal at Hotel Nauvoo.

The result of emptying a 21,000 seat conference centre.

During our visit we were able to attend several General Conference sessions in the Conference Centre (Center for all my American associates) which was truly amazing. It’s still great to see it in your local stake centre (center) but it’s extra special to actually be there. We also had the opportunity to do a baptism session in the Salt Lake Temple. Towards the end of our holiday, we went south to Escalante where we stayed at our friends cabin for four days. In short, it was absolute bliss – there were 100 acres of land in total to explore which was totally untamed, just stuff growing everywhere. At night, it went so dark it was like being in a cave. You could hardly see your hand if you put it right up to your face. It was also immensely quiet, there just wasn’t any noise. It made such a nice change. At home, even at 2am you can hear the low rumble of cars going down nearby roads.

Where we stayed. Three of us slept in another separate cabin about 20 feet from this main one. This was a perfect setup - we could make as much noise as we wanted before we went to sleep and we weren't disturbed by any early risers in the main cabin.

Little rocket - parachute failed to open - hilarious results.

Big rocket slipping from the grasp of gravity for a few moments.

I’ll upload some more pictures to the main photo section, I can keep them more organized there. There’s all sorts I could tell you about the trip, I’ll add more as I decide how to present it.

As the title of this post suggests, I’ve been accepted on to the 2007 Nauvoo Pageant Work Crew. I can’t wait! It’ll be great to work with my ‘old’ crew members and get to know the new ones (including my brother!).

More soon…

Matt Midgley