The Mission: Resurrected in Sheffield
21 minute read
The Mission died in Scotland almost two years ago.
It had promise. It had potential. But it ended way too soon.
For anybody that’s unfamiliar with what ‘The Mission’ actually is, or was; the premise goes a little something like this.
It begins with a friend of my choosing; a friend who needs to be as much of a lunatic as I am. My friend would then put me in touch with another one of their friends, and I would then have to travel to wherever that person lives and then spend some time with them doing whatever it is they enjoy doing most. The visit could be for an evening, a day, or even a full weekend.
Once that visit has come to end and they’ve hopefully been convinced that I’m actually a pretty normal and relatively harmless guy, that person would then put me in touch with another one of their friends. Then the process would begin all over again with me travelling onto someplace else, meeting someone new, and doing, well, whatever the visit may bring.
The idea was that I’d get to travel to a myriad of different places, meet a whole bunch of new people, and also get to do loads of really cool new things. I would then write about my experiences and share them on this website for all of you to (hopefully) enjoy from behind the comfort of the screen of your phone, iPad, or whatever form of technology you choose to view this on.
Lossul.com was set up with the intention of proving just how much adventure we can squeeze into our lives, despite the constraints that most of us regular folk have. You know the things I’m talking about; mortgage, rent, children, jobs, limited time, limited money, and so on and so forth. Not everybody has the freedom to just up and leave at the drop of a hat, but instead of letting that hold us back, it’s about becoming more efficient with your time, your money, your planning; with everything.
With this in mind, I restricted the travel destinations to being within the UK mainland, meaning that I could be heading to anywhere within England, Scotland, or Wales.
It was my good friend Adam who got things started; a fellow traveller who I’d met in Thailand back in 2004. I’d driven down to Reading to meet up with Adam who instantly loved the idea, and then within a couple of days he’d put me in touch with Matt from Cumbernauld in Scotland. You can read all about that first mission here, but what essentially followed was a fantastic trip to Scotland and the start of a new friendship. Sadly though, due to a little miscommunication, The Mission came to a premature end.
Until about two months ago.
It was a lazy Sunday morning in early March and I was splayed across my sofa watching re-runs of Cheers and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Norm had just entered the Cheers bar to the sound of the obligatory ‘NORM!’ being hollered across the room to him, when my phone beeped with the arrival of a new text message. It was Adam.
“Hey dude, how do you fancy getting The Mission under way again? A little closer to home this time. Sheffield.”
My eyes widened and I sat up, put down my coffee, and instantly hit Adam back with a reply.
“Hell yeah! Tell me more.”
His name was Andy.
That’s all I knew about him.
And so over the next couple of weeks building up to the visit to Sheffield, Adam had set up a group chat on Facebook Messenger so that Andy and I could become better acquainted, with Adam acting as the master of ceremony.
I was immediately put under the impression that Andy was a guy who seemed to attract ‘situations’. Things just seemed to happen to him. After having a quick look through his profile pictures I soon spotted one in which he was sporting an incredible black eye. It turns out that it was just one of three black eyes that he’d had and apparently there was a story attached to each one. I was beginning to wonder what I was getting myself into. I was already having visions of myself being drawn into the middle of a bar brawl in Sheffield with pints of ale flying across the room.
I’d already set two basic rules for The Mission:
No illegal activities
I was now considering adding a third which would state that there could be no bar brawls or any other kind of unnecessary breaches of the peace. But you know, more rules equal less fun; so I decided to just roll with the punches, so to speak.
The Messenger group became packed full of banter, especially between Adam and Andy who had already known each other for seventeen years. I was a little more reserved with my abuse to begin with because you can’t just walk into these things and insult somebody you don’t know right off the bat. For anyone who has seen the movie Gran Torino, just think of that scene in the barber shop.
But over the days leading up to my visit to Sheffield, I got more and more involved with the banter and it was clear that Andy and I would get on just fine. Believe me, doing something like The Mission takes me well and truly out of my comfort zone, which is a major part of its appeal, but at the same time it’s also the thing I get most nervous about.
What made the Sheffield trip even more challenging was that I was to stay at Andy’s place overnight. This was incredibly generous of Andy, and also very trusting, but imagine doing that; driving to a new place and meeting a complete stranger and then staying at their place for the weekend. What if we didn’t get on? There’d be no escape from a very awkward situation.
On the night before the visit, Andy seemed to capitalize on my nerves and took it upon himself to really wind me up. I wasn’t quite sure what was being expected of me for the weekend, but over the course of the conversation I was asked three questions in particular; could I swim, was I afraid of heights, and was I familiar with what happens in Fifty Shades of Grey. Adam also said that his money was on one of us being propositioned, flashed at, or getting into a fight.
What the hell was I getting myself into?
On the Saturday morning I couldn’t have felt less like leaving the house. Rain was pounding against my bedroom window, the wind was blowing hard, and for some reason I’d woken up with a terrible headache. I just felt like pulling the duvet back over my head and sleeping. But instead I had to get up, drive up to Sheffield, meet a stranger, do whatever they had lined up for me, and stay the night. I looked up at the ceiling and asked myself, over and over:
Why do I do these things to myself?
But the simple answer is that it’s because I like a challenge, I like facing the unknown (despite the fact that I often fear it), and I am trying to build something of my own here. The Mission truly embodies a huge part of what Lossul.com is all about, but the fact it’s a challenge for me also means that I get to live the very things that I often write about on the site; stepping out of your comfort zone, walking into the unknown, facing fears, and pushing yourself.
Like with many things in life, it’s the things you don’t feel like doing which are often the things you actually need to do most.
I told myself to get up, get out of bed, and to stop acting like a big girl.
Following a long hot shower and a really hearty breakfast, I packed my things, left the house, climbed into my car, and set off north on the M1.
As I reached Chesterfield and followed the A61 towards Sheffield, the rain stopped, the clouds started to clear, and blue skies started to emerge. My headache had disappeared, and as I drove along listening to a Sons of Anarchy soundtrack CD, I was beginning to feel more upbeat and excited about the day ahead. My change in mood had been incredible.
About half an hour later I steadily descended the steep hills of Sheffield. My brakes must have been red hot by the time I reached Andy’s place, who was now waiting for me outside of his apartment block, ready to buzz me in through the gates. As I parked up Andy came over with a big smile on his face, and then we shook hands.
“How’s it going matey?” I asked.
“I’m good, thank you. How was the drive?”
“Really good. Sheffield is very, erm, hilly.”
Andy helped me settle into his apartment and showed me to the guest bedroom. Following his comments about Fifty Shades of Grey the previous evening, I was delighted to find that it was just a very normal bedroom, and not a red room. I dropped my bags, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and then returned to the living room. We spent about an hour having a drink and a little ‘getting to know you’ conversation.
Andy is originally from Cheshire, then moved to Newcastle for university, before moving on to Reading where he worked in IT. This is how he got to know Adam. But then Andy wanted to make some changes in his life, including his career, and that’s when he found himself moving back to the north, to Sheffield, where he studied and retrained to become a social worker. I had to admire Andy for this; making a complete break from a career path which he knew well, and dropping from a high income so that he could pursue a whole new direction doing something that he felt real passion for.
We finished our drinks and then I was informed of the main activity for the day and of what my challenge was to be. Andy is a keen fitness enthusiast, and this suited me fine as I’m very much into my fitness too. It had been arranged so that I could accompany Andy to his gym as a guest for the afternoon, and that the activity would be swimming. I was really happy with this, but when a further comment was made about me swimming a mile, I took it to be an off-the-cuff joke with no real seriousness attached to it. I laughed, dismissed the comment, and then left the apartment and set off for the gym.
As we splashed down into the pool, Andy asked me what my favourite swimming style was. I declared it to be the breast-stroke (come on guys, no immature comments; it really is the breast-stroke), while Andy was a front-crawl kind of guy. He told me that he was going to do one hundred lengths, and then pulled a pair of swimming goggles over his eyes, adjusted them into position, and then immersed himself in the water and set off like a motor-boat. I watched in amazement as his arms powered through the water and he hurtled himself forward with his face down in the water.
“I can do that” I told myself.
And so I put on my goggles, flopped down into the water, and then started trying to follow Andy’s lead by doing the front crawl.
Now I’ve never really been able to keep my face down in the water for long while swimming in this style and so I usually just swim with my head to one side. But today I tried my best to imitate Andy’s style.
However, after about half a length I was suddenly aware that my arms were flailing all over the place and that to the outsider I may have come across like I was a potential drowning victim. I didn’t want to embarrass Andy by having a life-guard jump in to save me after swimming only half a length of the pool, and so I resorted to swimming with my face out of the water after all.
After completing just one length I took a breather at the end of the pool and watched Andy as he tore through the pool, end to end. I swear that guy must have had a motor attached to him as well as an oxygen tank. He was a swimming machine!
But it occurred to me there really are so many different types of fitness. My real peak of fitness came as a Muay Thai boxer and although there is a lot of endurance and stamina involved in Muay Thai training, the focus is more on explosive power and shorter durations of sustained intensity. When I was training for a fight I didn’t used to go on long runs, and instead focussed on sprints, followed by a short jog, then another sprint, and so on. The aim was condition the body and the heart to withstand a round of high-intensity fighting, followed by a break, then another round, then another break.
And so I ended up completing just four lengths in front-crawl before I switched to the breast-stroke. I was now comfortable as I could breathe properly and I was happy to just plod along and swim as many lengths as possible in this style.
Andy was in the fast lane, and I was in the middle lane. This suited me fine. I was happy.
However, out of the corner of my eye I started to notice somebody in the slow lane keeping pace next to me. I told myself that this was okay and to just carry on doing what I was doing. Don’t bother about them Elliot. But then they started to over-take me! This wasn’t right! They were in the SLOW lane. I glanced to my right to see a head of silver hair bobbing through the water, and then I saw his face and realised that he must have been 70 years old. I wasn’t having this! I sped up until myself and the silver-fox were neck and neck again, and then I gave it all I had and overtook him. Briefly.
I reached the edge of the pool, stopped for a breather, and then I looked over and saw Andy still tearing up and down the pool.
A bald-headed guy in the fast lane stopped for a rest and then we made eye-contact.
“How’s it going man?” I asked him.
“I’m good thanks. Are you a regular here?”
“No, I’m not from around here. I’m just here for the day. I’ve got a guest pass with a friend.” I responded, pointing to the goggle-clad swimming machine.
“Ah, okay. Are you local?” He asked me.
I was sure I’d already answered that question.
“Erm, no. I’m not from around here. I’m just here for the day.”
“Ah, okay. It’s quite a nice place really. I’ve always liked swimming.” He stated.
“Yes, me too. I don’t swim often, but I do enjoy it.”
“Cool. Cool. So are you a regular at this place?” He asked (again).
“Erm, no. Like I said. I’m from out of town. I’m just visiting a friend. I’m here on a guest pass.”
“Got you. Yes, I do like my swimming.” He repeated.
“Yes, you did say. I’m just trying to get in as many lengths as possible and keep up with my friend as best as I can.”
“Okay, well I’d better get back to it.” I said, adjusting my goggles back into place.
“Yes, of course. So hey, are you local?”
I decided to just concede.
“Yes, I’m just from up the road. About five minutes away. I’ll be in again tomorrow. See you later.”
And then I hurtled off and did my best not to make eye contact with him for the rest of the afternoon.
I had no idea if I had a target to achieve or not and I’d decided to just swim as many lengths as possible. I didn’t know if Andy had been serious about swimming a mile and I didn’t even know how many lengths made up a mile, so I just kept on going, setting myself mini-targets.
First I aimed for double figures, then I thought of the number twenty-one (a big milestone birthday), and then thirty (another milestone birthday). Then I aimed for my own age, thirty-eight, and then shortly afterwards, forty (my next milestone birthday). Then I told myself that if I’ve done forty, then I may as well do fifty; and before I knew it I’d completed sixty lengths. I continued on and saw Andy had pulled up at the side of the pool, and so I completed my length and returned to him.
“Hey man.” I said.
“Hey, I’m all done.”
“One hundred lengths? Wow.”
“Thanks. How many have you done?”
I stood there, panting. “Sixty two.”
“Only two more lengths then.”
“Two more lengths?”
“Yeah, only two more lengths and then you’ve done your mile.” Andy encouraged me.
“You’re shitting me? A mile is sixty four lengths?”
“Yeah, didn’t you know?”
“No, I didn’t. Right, I’m off then!”
And then I pushed out enthusiastically into the water, and this time I decided to complete my final two lengths without stopping, in front crawl.
As I returned to Andy for the final time, I felt incredible. I’d never swam a mile before, or even come close to swimming a mile, but today I’d done it. I felt really proud and I’d completed my challenge.
After a short session in the spa we decided to wrap things up and head back to the apartment. But as we walked back through the pool area I saw the bald-headed guy who waved at me.
“See you tomorrow.” He shouted.
I waved back and responded. “Yep, see you tomorrow.”
“See you tomorrow?” Andy quizzed me.
“Don’t ask. Just don’t ask.”
Back at Andy’s apartment we made up a few snacks, had some strong coffee, and then kicked back and relaxed for a short while. It had been a great idea to have an activity for the afternoon like this and I’d really enjoyed myself. Andy and I were really starting to relax around each other and I was feeling glad that I’d made the effort to come up to Sheffield.
The next part of the day was fast approaching and so after taking some time getting ready for the evening at a leisurely pace, we were both ready to hit the town. Yep, we were heading out on a pub crawl.
It had turned into a glorious spring time evening with clear blue skies. We chose to have a steady walk into Sheffield rather than getting a taxi, and as we wandered along London Road I looked around and took in the hive of activity that surrounded us. It was a bustling multi-ethnic area with international supermarkets, takeaways, restaurants, and pubs. There seemed to be something going on in whichever direction I looked.
“You know what Andy. I love areas like this.”
“Yeah. There’s just so much life and so much going on. It always feels so random.”
And then right on cue; just seconds after making that statement, a man came stumbling out of a pub, wobbled a few footsteps across the pavement, and then undid his jeans, pulled out his man-bits, and then started urinating into the gutter.
I looked at Andy, and nodded my head sideways towards the man who was currently spraying the pavement.
“You know. Things like that.”
“Did that really just happen?”
“Yeah, it really did.”
For the remainder of the walk into Sheffield we both opened up about a few more personal subjects; life experiences, relationships. We’d become really relaxed in each other’s company and I was happy to say that Andy was a really easy kind of guy to be around. I asked Andy about the stories surrounding the three black eyes, and he certainly kept me entertained with his responses.
The first had come in a not so glamorous way and was the result of an accident in his kitchen when he stood up without realising that he’d left a cupboard door wide open. His head connected, Andy swore, and a black eye followed.
The second came when he was swimming at the gym and was following a lady who completed a tumble-turn, but instead of her feet meeting the water, they met Andy’s head instead. Andy swore again, and another black eye followed.
But the third one is my favourite, and top marks to Andy for his bravery with this one. He was on a night out in Reading, and while he was stood at the bar waiting to order a drink, he became witness to a drunken dickhead who was hassling the barmaid. Perhaps it was because Andy is a gentleman, or perhaps it was because he was slightly inebriated, but Andy told the guy that perhaps he should lay off her a bit. The drunken dickhead responded to this by turning around, looking at Andy, and then punching him in the eye. The drunken dickhead got thrown out, and Andy got a free drink, and a bag of ice for his newly forming black eye. Good for you Andy.
The plan for this evening was to meet up with a bunch of Andy’s work friends, and so when we walked into The Benjamin Huntsman we got ourselves a drink, sat down at a large table, and awaited everybody’s arrival.
The first to arrive was John; a really nice older guy who got straight into some work-related banter with Andy. Shortly afterwards there was Rozanna, Jade and Jason. Rozanna and I instantly hit it off. She was a very charming young lady with dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin; she had a very exotic look about her, and she explained that this came from having some Iranian blood in the family. Jade and Jason were a really nice young couple who were an absolute pleasure to talk to. Then there were some more new arrivals; Janet, Suzanne and Ben, John and Suzanne, Julie, Alex, and a few others whose names I didn’t quite catch.
I could tell straight away that Janet was going to be a scream, and she turned out to be absolutely brilliant. Janet showed so much enthusiasm for The Mission and this in turn captured the attention of John and Suzanne also. Before I knew it I was telling my stories to the whole group like it was story-time, but the stories quickly descended into some of my more comical dating experiences.
The evening was going absolutely brilliantly, the drinks continued to flow, and then Janet turned and asked me:
“Have you ever been in a lurrie?”
“Sorry. In a what?”
“I’ve never even heard of a lurrie, let alone be in one. What’s a lurrie?”
“You know. A lurrie.” She said while turning an imaginary steering wheel in her hands.
“Oh, you mean a lorry!?”
“Yeah, a lurrie.”
I looked at Janet with a quizzical expression which was quite clearly aimed at her accent.
“I’m from Bolton.” She explained.
“Ah, got you.” I winked at Janet.
Janet went on to explain about a friend of hers that had heard all about The Mission and had expressed an interest in me spending a day with them out in their lorry. I loved the idea. I really did. And this is exactly what I’d hoped for from The Mission; random openings into completely random encounters. However, technically the next participant really needs to come from the current participant, meaning that it’s now on Andy to make the next introduction.
But the gesture that Janet had made was simply amazing, and I was blown away by everybody’s enthusiasm. Andy had managed to surround himself with some fantastic people and they all made me feel so welcome. The evening had truly gone beyond all expectations and everything was in full swing once again. The Mission had been resurrected.
Unfortunately though, every peak has a trough; and the trough of my visit to Sheffield was about to come in the form of the venue that we found ourselves moving onto next.
The venue was called Popworld, and the name in itself sent a shiver of apprehensive terror down my spine. As we approached the entrance I could see the name Popworld written in brightly coloured rainbow letters, and as our group moved quickly inside the venue, the bouncer turned to me as the last man in the queue and said:
“Good luck in there mate!”
An expression of fear must have spread across my face as I turned back to him and asked:
He just smiled at me.
I turned around to the others and asked:
“What did he mean by good luck?”
But it soon became apparent what he meant, because I can only assume that somehow he’d had some kind of extra-sensory perception and that he knew I’d hate the place. And he was right. Because as I walked in through the door I was greeted by the sound of C’est La Vie by B*Witched as half of the nightclub bounced around doing a truly awful imitation of the Irish jig dance from the terrible music video that accompanied this late 1990’s abomination of the music scene.
I looked around Popworld in sheer disbelief, and as B*Witched came to a much appreciated end, it was quickly followed up by S Club 7. I wanted to cry, and if there really is a hell then I was pretty convinced I was now there.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of music I’m usually into; my last two gigs were Slipknot and Machine Head. Yet here I was, squished into a sweaty little nightclub packed out with young girls who were barely out of school, a few creepy older men and a few equally creepy older women, and some very drunk younger guys who were probably spending the last of their pocket money for the week.
As I walked past one particular group of young men, they stood in a group taking a ‘selfie’ and then pouted at the camera. I looked at them in disbelief and wanted to grab each of them by their spotty little necks and shout:
“MEN. DO. NOT. POUT!”
I was suddenly aware that I was alone, and while I’d been walking around in a state of shock and revulsion, the others had made their way onto the dance floor and were well and truly loving the vibes of Steps. I took a wander down towards the rest of the group and then Rozanna and I stood on the edge of the dance-floor, chatting for a little while. But in the end even Rozanna couldn’t take any more of Popworld and so she made a very lucky and tactical exit to meet up with some of her friends at another club.
Now I’m not somebody who hates dancing, but I am somebody who cannot just dance to anything. For me to dance I have to be really feeling the music, and then what I don’t have in style I make up for in enthusiasm. Generally this is in the form of me throwing myself around the podium of an indie/rock club to the adrenaline fuelled music of the likes of Rage Against The Machine or The Prodigy. And so when The Macarena began and everybody started doing ‘the dance’ like it was some awfully choreographed teen dance movie, I decided I needed to make a sharp exit from the dance-floor.
Ascending the steps, shaking my head, I reached the top, turned around, leant on the railings, and then looked out over the dance-floor. Andy was bouncing around and was absolutely loving it. He glanced over and waved, and I gave him a very enthusiastic thumbs-up and encouraged him to keep on dancing. I glanced across to the other side of the stairway where a large bouncer, sporting a very metal-like beard and numerous tattoos, made eye contact with me. He nodded to me, and I nodded to him. The bouncer and I had an understanding. He hated the place, and so did I. And then everybody shouted ‘HEY MACARENA!’
But despite all my protests and negative comments about the place, the truth is that I was actually having a really good time; in an out-of-body-experience kind of way. I was happy to just observe the place in all its obscene awfulness.
Andy came bounding over and asked me if I was having a good time. And to be fair, I was. I explained that the music was truly awful, but that I was enjoying soaking up my surroundings and that he should carry on enjoying himself. Over the course of the evening I ventured onto the dance-floor just once when they played the classic Journey track Don’t Stop Believin’. However, whereas most people were most likely feeling nostalgic for High School Musical at this point; the song was making me feel nostalgic for The Sopranos, because I’m cool like that.
But the song ended and then S Club 7 made another appearance and started trying to tell me that apparently there ‘aint no party like an S Club party’ and that they were ‘going to show me how’. But before they had chance to show me how, I’d already left the dance-floor and was on my way to the bathroom, leaving behind me a sea of people throwing their hands in the air.
Standing at the urinals I was serenaded by the ‘after shave guy’ who was camped out near the sinks. It’s amazing how hard it can be to ‘go’ when a stranger is talking to you, and so I stood there with increasing frustration as he continued with his repertoire. I kept thinking of running taps and waterfalls, hose-pipes in full flow, and garden sprinklers. But then I thought of Superman and the moment when the Hoover Dam bursts and all that water runs free, and then I was on my way. Success. The ‘after shave guy’ went into full Inbetweeners mode.
“No Armani. No poonannie.”
“No Paco Rabane. Go home with a man.”
“No splash. No gash.”
I zipped up, washed my hands, and made a swift exit.
Back downstairs I met up with Andy and Janet who had somehow managed to acquire a giant inflatable penis. It was clear that the evening was slowly drawing to a close. The group was slowly starting to splinter-off, and after one final dance, some more truly awful songs with equally awful key-changes, and plenty of hands waving in the air; I was now able to escape this hell.
Back outside I breathed in the fresh air and I didn’t even care that it had started raining. I held my hands up towards the sky while the rain fell; it was like the moment when Tim Robbins finishes crawling through the ‘river of shit’ in The Shawshank Redemption. I was free of Popworld.
It was getting late and the combination of alcohol and a relatively empty stomach had left both Andy and I in need of some food. We wandered through the streets in the rain, and then after gathering up some fish and chips from a local takeaway, Andy, Janet and I clambered into the back of a taxi and set off back towards Andy’s apartment.
Standing on the pavement outside the taxi I leant in and shook hands with Janet. We agreed to keep in touch, and then I pushed the taxi door shut and watched the taillights move their way down the street as the taxi disappeared out of view.
After a late fish and chip supper which was accompanied by a very large glass of water, I said goodnight to Andy and then made my way to the spare bedroom. I lay in bed and thought back over the events of the day; it really had gone beyond all expectations, and as I switched off the light and settled in for the night, I felt really positive about the future of The Mission.
I awoke the following morning feeling surprisingly hangover-free. Climbing out of bed, I picked my jeans up off the floor, slipped them on, and then grabbed a clean t-shirt. Making my way through to the living room, Andy was stood in the kitchen with a frying pan at the ready.
“Good morning. Bacon sandwich?” Andy asked.
“Oh, yes please!”
“Tea of coffee?”
“Tea please.” I replied.
“Surprisingly good thank you. What a cracking night. You’ve got some pretty amazing friends.”
A few moments later we both sat in silence eating our breakfast and watching Sunday Brunch on television. Outside the clouds had cleared once again and the bright blue spring skies were looking very inviting.
A short while later I was showered, packed, and ready to leave. But the weekend wasn’t quite over yet and there was one final activity lined up. It turns out that Andy and I are both big movie fans and that we both love going to the cinema. And so it seemed only fair that we should follow up a big night out by having a lazy Sunday morning at the movies.
I’d decided to follow Andy in my own car so that I could continue the journey home straight after the cinema. It was a beautiful day and so as I drove down towards the Cineworld complex near Meadowhall, I had my windows wound fully down and let the breeze of the late morning blow through the car. Spring time had arrived; my favourite time of the year. Everything feels so fresh, so new, and it always feels like new beginnings, new possibilities.
We’d soon arrived at Cineworld and then we made our way inside, bought our tickets, and then sat down to have a coffee and a chat before the movie began. And there was one final twist to the cinema visit in that I was about to have my very first experience of 4D cinema, and the movie of choice was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The movie itself was nothing overly special, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable cinema experience with real-time smoke machines, strobe lighting, water spray, and chairs that lift and tilt and move in time with the movie; oh, and with pressure pads in the back of the chairs which give the sensation of being punched in the body during the fight scenes. I wouldn’t say it added anything to the movie as such and I certainly wouldn’t travel any distance to experience 4D again, but for a special occasion it was a really good experience to have had.
Before we knew it, the movie was over and Andy and I were back out in the car park ready to say goodbye.
“Well thank you for everything Andy. You’ve been a great host and I’ve had a brilliant weekend. I really appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome, and it’s been good meeting you. Give me a few weeks to think of who I can pass you onto next. I’ll be in touch.”
We shook hands, climbed into our cars, and then set off in opposite directions.
As I drove south back down the M1, I couldn’t have felt any better. If ever any proof was needed that good things come when you put yourself out there and push through the boundaries of your comfort zone, then this was it. To think that just over twenty four hours previously I’d been laying in bed with the temptation to pull the covers over my head and just stay at home. But look at all that I’d have missed out on if I’d done that.
In the space of twenty four hours I’d made a new friend in Andy, I’d swam a mile, and met a fantastic group of people who had been incredibly friendly and welcomed me with open arms. I’d also witnessed a man urinating in public and had been subjected to the horrors of Popworld; but hey, you have to take the rough with the smooth.
Thank you to John, to Jade and Jason, and to Suzanne and John for taking so much interest in my stories. Thank you to Rozanna for being such wonderful company, and thank you to Janet for being so much fun and for your endless enthusiasm. And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Andy for opening up his home to me, for introducing me to your friends, and for arranging such a fun weekend.
The Sheffield Mission was a success.
I’d written way back in my very first article that if you put yourself out there then the world really can open up to be a place of abundance which is full of people who want to be friends. The possibilities are endless, and those new friends can be the very people who will want to help you realise your dreams.
As I drove away from Sheffield I was never more convinced of this.
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