This is the best resolution I've ever made, so for the third year here it is.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Friday, 30 December 2016
Not a bad year! I don't think I've done much but I've had a great time doing it!
The garden was beautiful. Thank you, Jack!
I had a lovely break in Brugge. Thank you, my dear nephew and your wife.
I made some gorgeous cards. Thank you, Mandy.
And through this blog I've made and maintained some lovely friendships. Thank you, one and all.
Have a great 2017.
Tuesday, 27 December 2016
Just before Christmas I can single-handedly raise the stress levels of an awful lot of people. Now let’s be clear on this, they are nice, kind loving people, but there’s an awful lot of them.
I am one of the most blessed people alive. I get an incredible number of invitations to go to other people’s homes on Christmas Day. Cousins, friends, church members, fellow church leaders, all invite me to join them but I just won’t budge. I prefer to be home alone.
Christmas is a very special day. It starts like a Sunday morning here. I get up and have a leisurely cup of coffee whilst I check in with the Almighty, then I dress and it’s off to church. I think I’d be missed if I didn’t go as I’m the gal who leads the service and Christmas is one of those days when I feel more than usually blessed to be able to do so. The congregation is extra happy and I get a generous number of hugs and often gifts of wine or baked gifts. Yummy.
On the way home I call to see Auntie Hettie (who has just been to chapel) and I have a coffee and a natter there but from then on it’s a solitary day.
I come home and maybe unwrap a present before I go for a snooze but it’s a day for pleasing myself. When I get up I gradually open my presents but take time to enjoy each one, especially the homemade ones. My meal can be at any time (this year it was in the evening) and can be anything. This year I had a turkey roast with pigs in blankets, stuffing balls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, bread sauce and gravy with some rather nice cranberry sauce which had arrived in my stocking. I decided to keep the pud for another day. During the day I listen to the radio or an audiobook, watch TV, read or do puzzles.
And I am truly blessed. I know that if I changed my mind and wanted company I could go to any number of houses and a place would quickly be prepared for me at the table. I am blessed in that everyone who invites me would truly make me welcome but respects my desire to stay at home.
In all I am blessed for the love which Christ showed in coming to earth is shown in my family and circle of friends. I hope that you too have been blessed this Christmas.
Monday, 26 December 2016
I’m back from Malta with a nice tan and it’s got round to that time of the year again – Christmas. Christmas isn’t a good time for me. My mum died around this time nineteen years ago. Also in December 63 years ago the good Lord called my sister to join him. She was only fifteen years old and it devastated my parents. Christmas wasn’t the same after that. I like to spend time on my own and I get rather emotional as well, but I am getting better. This year I am wearing Christmas jumpers so I think at last I am getting better.
On arrival at my friend’s house I could sense something was wrong. We had a chat over a cup of tea. It turned out she was a bit out of sorts and so tired. Vicars have a hard time of it this time of year but I hope my visit cheered her up.
I put up the outside tree and planted some plants I’d got her for Christmas then did a few more bits and bobs outside and then while she had a rest I did my bit on the kitchen. After about an hour and a quarter the kitchen was sparkling clean including the floor. Then I assembled an oil heater so she can sit in the conservatory. Next I hoovered through the house. Then after I’d sorted the sitting room I got two more Christmas trees out of the garage, put them into position, and brought in the decorations for her to trim the tree but before that DINNER!!! Today’s menu was baked spuds with sweetcorn and grated cheese with bitter on as well. I hope I’m not making your mouth water! Surprise, surprise – no mistakes today.
She knew I had to go before 2pm as my wife was going to see “Frozen on Ice” as part of her Christmas present from our daughter so I just daren’t be late. My eldest granddaughter Louise, who also helps my friend when I am in Malta, was driving them all to the show and they were taking my younger granddaughter too. Due to circumstances we didn’t meet this granddaughter until she was 2½ years old. She was very shy at first but soon she would meet me before I got out of my car, grab my hand and take me up and down the street telling everybody, “Look, I’ve got a grandad! I’ve got a grandad”. I’m the only grandad my two granddaughters have. It is such a great feeling to be held in such high esteem.
Christmas is all about giving – well someone on my family is going to be very happy. It’s nothing to do with money and it’s nothing edible. You’ve all heard of the twelve days of Christmas? I’m going to write twelve words on a card to someone and I know they will be so happy when they see it.
Rambler, I hope you get your knee done. I think I am heading down that path as well. The doc has said that am too young (at nearly 74!) to have it done. Good luck with yours.
To all the good folk who follow this blog (and I mean you as well, Vicar) I hope you all have a happy Christmas and a great 2017.
To everyone wherever you are, whatever you do, wherever you go, may the good Lord be at your side always.
My best wishes, Jack
PS, see you in the New Year, Vicar, and thanks very much for everything.
Jack came just before Christmas and sent this post soon after so I'm a bit late posting it. Sorry, Jack but I hope Christmas was good for you too.
Sunday, 4 December 2016
I love Nativity sets and I love chocolate-free Advent Calendars. When I see the two combined I'm a lost cause.
Early in the year I saw some lovely sets and I bought them for lots of children and one very big child. Me. Each day I can open a new window and find another piece towards my stable. Day 1 was the stable itself but since then I've found two trees and a sheep.
Thursday, 1 December 2016
I love Advent! I love this period of waiting for Christmas. I'm old enough to take the commercialism with a shovelful of salt and enjoy quite a lot of the razzamatazz without being bothered by it. Advent is a time of reflection and thinking, thinking about the birth of Christ but also of the people whom he came to save. I have known and loved many people throughout my life and I have in my turn been loved and I thank God.
I was delighted to find that The Bible Society has devised an Advent Challenge for us all to join in. Today's challenge is centered on the story which we know as the Good Samaritan. There are three actions to choose from.
Talk to, or give some food to, someone sleeping rough
Help a stranger pack their shopping or load it into their car
Offer to shop for someone who can’t get out.
I don't think there is anyone sleeping rough in Caistor, I'm the person for whom others offer to shop and I doubt if anyone would be too happy at the thought of a lady on a mobility scooter packing their car so at first glance I feel a bit limited on this one. However, I shall sort out some tine for the food bank and I shall make sure I include a couple of cans of salmon, Many years ago I delivered a food parcel to an elderly lady and included a small Christmas cake and an even smaller home-made Christmas pudding but it was the tin of salmon which excited her most. That would be a treat for some time in the future when the offers of special Christmas meals had come to an end and January and February could seem a little joyless. Thank you, Edna, for teaching me that.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Move over, Paddington. Pudsey is top of the pops this week. He's on a 470 mile rickshaw trip from Jedburgh to London.
UK readers know exactly what I'm talking about. Pudsey is the figurehead of Children in Need, the BBC's annual campaign to raise money for (surprise, surprise) children in need. Some is spent in the UK, some overseas but since 1980 it has raised £600 million through its annual campaign. For several years now Pudsey has been transported around the country courtesy of young cyclists who have themselves been helped by the charity and who cycle power the rickshaw as others collect from the crowd. The "Grand Finale" will be on Friday with a telethon when the money rolls in.
Anyway, today Pudsey came to Caistor and it would have been rude not to welcome him. The town turned out in force.
Big Pudsey came first and I have to say, he's a bit of a poser. He had competition from a panda who is the mascot of our local running club. Panda rarely meets a bear of his own size in Caistor so it was a treat for him.
Soon the shout went up - the rickshaw was on its way! A young lad called Ross was powering the bike while little Pudsey reclined in the back. There's an incredibly large support crew but Ross was the star in Caistor. He got loudly cheered (we'd been primed as to his name) but all too soon the circus moved on, the crowd dispersed and this resident came home glad she'd sat in the cold and cheered.