Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Iron Filings in My Nose

Ok, it is a fact that birds have iron filings in their nose. How else could they fly from north to south and not get lost? The iron helps them keep magnetic north so this is why you never see a bird standing around mumbling to itself with a furrowed brow whilst looking a map. I, on the other hand, am not a bird and therefore can get lost, and often do. I get so easily turned around that sometimes it appears I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with a map, a torch and a compass.

I was on a course today in the next town over. I had to catch the train, and walk for about 20 minutes to a building I had never been to. Herein lies the problem. For other people a vague set of directions like “Go to the Leisure Park, find the underpass and then cross the road when you see Robertson House. Go around the side until you find the Reception desk” fills me with terror. Where do I go when I get off the train? Where is the Leisure Park? What underpass? What does the building look like? Which way do you walk to find reception? And when you go there are all sorts of obstacles that no one mentioned like “Stairs! No one said there would be stairs! Am I meant to go down or keep walking?” Or God forbid a fork in the road! I was working myself up into a lather about this course and then calming myself down with prayer. Thankfully God sent several guardian angels to my rescue.

My mate Clare from work is completely sympathetic to my fears and made me a 10 page set of instructions with pictures from Google Earth to show me which way to go. It included funny captions and was a huge lifesaver. I have studied it religiously for a week. She is my first angel. The second angel appeared this morning in the drizzle that is England as I was standing in the car park trying to read my map and furrowing my brow and mumbling to myself. This kind and generous woman looked at me and said, “Are you a teacher?” and when I replied “Teaching assistant” she asked if I was going to Robertson house on a course. Yes I was. And so God bless this woman, she walked with me as she was on their way there as well. She was head of maths at a school in Royston and like me had come early. She made me still read the map and she talked me through all the places we were going such as “Turn here by the cinema and we are going towards those stairs.”  I was completely at ease and able to follow where we were going. It was like having Clare’s voice in my head. When we got there she helped me find my room. I was super early having given myself an hour to get lost but luckily I had brought a book so I went to the cafĂ© and had a drink and read my book and then went on my course which was highly informative and interesting.

At the end I managed to find my way back to the station with ease and feel certain I could do it again alone if I needed to. I was so relieved that people—one friend and one stranger—reached out to me in my time of need. Goodness does exist. May it spring from me as much as it did from them. Amen.


  1. You must have inherited that from your father. The getting lost part, yes I'd do, but the angst about it, no. GLT, on the other hand. . . .like father, like daughter! I always dreaded having to navigate him through a city, as he'd get so worked up over it.

    Glad you made it.........hope the conference was useful and not boring.

  2. oh yeah.........remember the time we all laughed at him and rolled eyes when he told us about birds having iron filings in their noses. We thought he was just BSing us for sure.

  3. Nice job finding your place. People help you because you are so kind and wonderful!