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The personality of the month for August 2009 is: Basia Armitage Where were you born? I was born in Leeds to Polish parents and have an older sister, Elzunia, and a younger brother, Marek. What was your most memorable experience from childhood good or bad? I don’t know about most memorable, but my first ever memory is of waking up in my cot and crying for no reason other than to herald the fact that I was awake and READY TO GO, MUMMY! Come on with the cuddles – GOOD. My cries were answered by a neighbouring baby wail which I now know would have been my brother who was born a year after me. Even at that age (18 months?) I knew that the other wailer would get seen to first – BAD – and I might as well just button it, which I did. So I knew from quite early on that I wasn’t the centre of the universe. Which can only be a good thing! Give 3 words to describe yourself Curious, reflective, persevering. Do you have any pet hates? The phrase ‘turned round’ as in, “Then she turned round and said to me............. So I turned round and said to her .................” etc. It begins to sound like one of those twirly dances from a costume drama. When going out for a meal what type of restaurant would you prefer to visit, Chinese/Thai/Italian/English? I think I’d have to opt for a Spanish Tapas bar as you can get quite a variety of dishes in manageable portions, and with two or more people in your party ordering, there’s lots of different tapas to share. What was the most exciting thing that happened to you last year? Seeing ‘Touching The Cross’ in print at last! “Touching The cross” - that’s a new book isn’t it? Can you tell us about it? About four years ago I was reading a book detailing the experiences of modern-day nuns in different orders. I found it fascinating and it got me thinking about all the inspiring testimonies I’d heard over the years at Huddersfield Christian Fellowship. I thought it would be great to collect all these wonderful experiences and have them published so that, among other things, people outside our church could know of them too. It also came at a time when I wanted to do something to help with funding for the new building. Although I’d never done anything remotely like it before, I approached Colin and Sue (our pastor and his wife) about my idea and they gave me their blessing. This was amazing and scary at the same time as the whole thing then became ‘real’. However, although I had no experience in the field and knew how hard it is to get publishers interested in something new, I always believed that ‘Touching The Cross’ would get into print because the testimonies were awesome (and I use the term advisedly!) and so encouraging. I’d like to say here how greatly I respect everyone who allowed their testimonies to be included in the book as it takes a lot of courage to revisit past pains. The book itself was a lot of hard work but well, well, well worth doing and I learned a lot from the experience, both practically and spiritually. Many times I felt God guiding me through the process. To anybody else who wants to do something for God but feels unqualified for the job, I’d say sound out the leadership of your church and if they’re in agreement, go for it! Just as an add-on, ‘Touching The Cross’ has led on to other bits of work for a local paper and although I’d never considered writing for a newspaper before, it’s something that I really enjoy doing and I feel that at long last I’ve found my vocation. What do you do to relax? Read or watch a good (soppy or laugh out loud funny) film. Do you have any phobias? I wish you hadn’t asked me that one! I don’t know if it counts as a phobia but it really makes me squirm if someone is preparing food, especially if it’s for someone else, and hasn’t washed their hands immediately before. Also I have a fear that I’ll walk out of our house and either leave (a) a window open; (b) the cooker or the gas on; (c) the hair straighteners on; (d) a combination of all of the above plus anything else I can frighten myself with; and I’ll come back to an empty home or a charred ruin. I therefore run round and round checking and re-checking everything before I finally force myself to walk out of the front door before I make myself very late. Even then, as I get into the car, I often have to just pop out to check that I really have locked the door. As you can imagine, it can make for a fun time when going away on holiday! Is anybody else like that? No? Only me then. Do you have any hobbies? Reading, doing crossword puzzles with Peter (my husband), word games and running, which I’ve just started up again. If you could go back in time when and where would you like to go? Good question. I think, on the whole, if it was possible, I’d go back to my youth and early adulthood and put all the things right I’d done wrong. I may have learned from my experiences but sometimes you can live with the consequences of what you’ve done for a long time. Have you met any famous people? If so where? I haven’t met any really famous people but I once saw Les Dawson (for anybody under the age of 25, he was a top comedian) buying Christmas presents in Lewis’s and Frank Carson buying a railway ticket at Leeds train station. They came across exactly as they did on TV, approachable and jovial. However, I have met and spoken to Derrick Longden, a local author who writes about his home life in Huddersfield with his wife and cats. His books are entertaining and charming and Peter and I both love them. He was in our local supermarket and we recognised him from his publicity photos so we dared each other to speak to him. He was genuinely open and friendly although I did wonder if he was really thinking: “Oh for goodness sake I only popped out for a can of beans!” What has been the most challenging 'event' in your life? Well, I think every day can have its challenging moments. Have you met my husband? No, seriously, without a doubt it would be the whole process of putting ‘Touching The Cross’ together and learning the best way of promoting it to publishers, radio stations etc. Along with those whose testimonies feature in the book, it involved radio interviews (nerve-wracking) and speaking in front of audiences at book events at Waterstones (help!) and the opening of Cathedral House. But I really believe that if God wants something to succeed it will. We only have to put ourselves into His hands and trust Him for the outcome.
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