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Friday, 20 December 2019

In praise of shop staff

This morning I went into Brigg early to do the last bits of Christmas shopping.  Not presents - I bought or made most of them ages ago - but food.  It's no good for me to go in on Christmas Eve  as people get a wee bit impatient with old ladies on mobility scooters.  That's not how I think of myself but it is undoubtedly how people see me when they are feeling harassed!

Anyway I was in Brigg before eight this morning and my first stop was Lidl.  The chap on the till was chatty and he told me he had started work at six and wouldn't be finishing until four but he still had a cheery word for me.

Then I passed B & M and a man was raising the shutters but he gave me a really cheerful "Good Morning".  It was so cheery that I thanked him and he was kind enough to say that I'd made his day by my own cheerfulness and my "Thank you".  

On to the butcher.  My butcher is of the traditional kind - big blue apron and loads of useful advice.  As soon as I stopped near his shop he was outside pulling down the awning so that my scooter wouldn't get wet whilst I was inside.  And we chatted and laughed whilst I bought sausage made from locally produced pork. home cured bacon and our traditional Lincolnshire Plum Bread.  

It was the same in Tesco and Wilko when I went in there.  The staff were in Christmas jumpers and in great humour.

Retail staff are in for a few days very hard work, the culmination of several weeks hard work.   They will also have Christmas to prepare for their own families just like the rest of us.  I too was in a profession which had lots of extra tasks in the run-up to Christmas but although it was hard work I suspect that I got more thank yous than many shop workers so this is my personal thank you to all those who keep cheerful and look after us,

Thank You!


Sunday, 15 December 2019

Meeting a Prophet



Many years ago when I was still in my old parishes I took a Christingle service.  We always had Christingle on Christmas Eve and it was always very popular.  Parents wanted their children to hear the real meaning of Christmas and they wanted them to hear it from the vicar in church.  If the vicar was prepared to entertain their kids on Christmas Eve when they were as high as kites, most parents thought that was a brilliant idea.  And everybody wanted to join in singing “Away in a manger” by candlelight.  It was a high spot of Christmas for quite a few people.

All those of you who have been to a Christingle will know that although it’s a service which everybody enjoys, it’s really a service for children.  So I was a little concerned when a rather dishevelled man came in about three minute before the start, took off his shoes and socks and started to warm his feet in front of the gas fire.  These days strange men wandering in to children’s services are inevitably regarded with a certain amount of suspicion.  I went across to talk to him but he wasn’t in a mood for a chat so I started the service anyway.

He sat there throughout the service with his feet to the fire and his back to me.  Even when the children came forward to receive their Christingles and they were all standing in the aisles he didn’t want to move.  He sat there as families left and he sat there as people all around him chatted.  It was obvious that he would have stayed there all night so I had a word with a big strapping soldier on leave and asked if he would mind coming with me if I offered to take the chap to the shelter in Lincoln.  It was OK by him so I thought I’d solved the problem.

Except that the man didn’t want to go.

By this time all the children had gone but there were a lot of adults left in church, bless their hearts, because they didn’t want to leave me on my own with the man but I really hadn’t got a clue what to do next.  I’m a single woman living alone and I didn’t want to take him home with me.   I knew the churchwardens wouldn’t agree to leaving the man in church and nobody seemed to have any ideas at all.  Stalemate.

Then one of the men stepped forward and I was a bit surprised that he was in his shirt sleeves.  He’d taken off his jacket and he put it around the stranger’s shoulders saying, “That’ll keep you warm and there’s some cash in the pocket too.”  Then the floodgates opened and the pockets were filled with rather crackly gifts but after a few gifts the chap stopped us giving him more saying he’d got enough now.  He’d probably been given about £70 to £80 which is hardly a fortune. 

Somehow, though, the atmosphere relaxed.  One or two more people left the church and a woman prison officer had a word with the man and then took him home with her to have some hot soup.  Another man had a word and discovered that the man didn’t want to go to Lincoln but he’d got friends in Scunthorpe so he arranged to take him.  I breathed a sigh of relief, bade farewell to the stragglers and went home.

But the memory of that night will never leave me for that night I think I met a prophet.  Prophets aren’t fortune tellers.  They’re not really into predicting the future.  What prophets do is to make us look at the present and see it for what it really is and more important make us see ourselves for what we really are.

We’d all gone to church that night to celebrate the birth of Christ.  We were all good Christian folk and I’m pretty sure that all of us had made our charitable donations in the run up to Christmas.  We’d  all heard the bidding prayer which reminded us  that because this of all things would rejoice his heart, we should remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved. 

We’d all heard that and we thought we were all good Christian people.  We’d done our bit and there are systems and charities in place to care for everybody.  It took a stranger to remind us that Christ did not come to bring systems but to bring love.  The stranger reminded us whilst Christ loves all humanity he also loves each human and asks us to love and care in his name.  He was pretty low down in the social heap but he had friends and he had preferences even if it was just to go to Scunthorpe not Lincoln and no, I didn’t know what was best for him

John the Baptist was a prophet in the wilderness of Judaea.  May we recognise God’s prophets wherever we find them. 

(I'm linking with Tracing Rainbows Pause in Advent.  Sorry I didn't post anything last week.)

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Meet Welly Dog

I had to pass our local (retained) fire station this evening. Welly Dog was on guard.

Advent continues



Most nights, come rain or shine, I've been out to see the various windows which form Caistor's Living Advent Calendar.  It's lovely!  Not only are the windows gorgeous but the mulled wine and mince pies are pretty good too.

Here are a few highlights.  Some windows don't photograph well and I'm no great shakes as a photographer!

This was a tiny window with tiny, tiny figures inside

The Methodist church did a simple but effective nativity scene.  
One bungalow featured owls.  There were actually owls hooting in nearby trees as well!
This house featured a rather ethereal angel

And there are still lots more to see!





Friday, 6 December 2019

Further into Advent

Advent continues to unfold its lovely self in this lovely community.


I've been to see the Living Advent Calendar most nights and am amazed at the variety of windows.  Some look great but don't photograph well but I was very impressed by this one for 4th December.  It was also our monthly Street-Food Market at a nearby park at the same time so as well as the mince pies and mulled wine I had a Dutch sausage thingy that night! I bought the sausage wotsit-thingy, but the mulled wine and mince pies were courtesy of the householder who had done the light display.  That same generosity has been shown most nights.  (The street-food market is a semi commercial venture.)

Last night I missed the window lights because I went to our Women's Institute Christmas Dinner.   Santa couldn't come this year but he sent his Missus!


So far I haven't put up my lights.  When I was a child they didn't go up until Christmas Eve or maybe 23rd December but as I get older I'm putting them up a little earlier.  Maybe next week.

However, my Advent stable continues to reveal its secrets.  So far a star, an angel, a herdsman, a cow, a sheep and a goat have appeared.  

Monday, 2 December 2019

Advent


As far as the makers of "advent" calendars are concerned Advent always starts on 1st December.  As far as this 'ere (retired) vicar is concerned Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  2019 is one of the rare years when everyone is in agreement!  Yesterday was the first day of Advent.  


So as usual my Advent stable was set up.  I've had it for many years now, since well before I retired (and that was ten years ago) but each year it brings me joy.  There are twelve cupboards on the other side of the stable so each day I find a new figure to add to the scene.


For the past few years Caistor has had a "Living Advent Calendar" but I've never been to see it.  Twenty four households volunteer to have a light display in their window, each on a different day of Advent.  Last night I went to the first one which was at the home of Pete-my-gardener-and-handyman.  He and his family had provided mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies and we had a noisy countdown to the switch-on.  There was then a bit of community singing of a Christmas song and people chatted.  I met several people I'd never met before.  It was a free event, not even a charity collection, and it was a real community "do".

I think it could be part of my Advent on several evenings this year.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Being prepared (Pause in Advent 1)

These days getting up is quite a leisurely affair.  I get out of bed fairly early sometime after 4am.  This morning I had a lie in to 5am but then I put on my dressing gown, settled down in my chair while snuggling under a throw and I read e mails and blogs, had some quiet time and roughly planned my day.  I'd have scrambled eggs for breakfast.   I would go to Caistor Church for the 10.15 service then come home and do some work on Christmas presents.  

But at a quarter to nine the phone rang.  One of the village clergy was ill and could I help out? 

Errr, yes.  Any vicar asking for help a mere two hours before a service should start is desperate!  Fortunately I've been in ministry for well over thirty years so I've got lots of material on file. I could easily pull up the readings and other materials for today.  I asked the vicar if I could read an extract from my book  instead of preaching and told her to rest and not worry.

As soon as I put the phone down I had a panic stricken word with the Almighty!  I found the propers (church term for the "proper" readings and prayers for the day) and printed them out along with a story from my book.  I had the planned scrambled eggs and still had space for a rather longer time of prayer.

And the service went well, thank God.  It was the usual small village congregation of about a dozen people and together we started Advent, the time of preparation for God's great gift of his Son.  We lit the first candle on the Advent wreath and remembered those people who long ago waited for Messiah.  I felt quite well prepared to lead worship.

The real purpose of Advent is looking toward the coming of Jesus, just as the patriarchs of long ago did and like Mary, pregnant as is the woman depicted in my statuette.  Each week in this season we hear the Old Testament promises and we look for his coming in our lives.

Thirty-odd years of ministry have left me well prepared to answer emergency calls for help like the one I had today.  These next few weeks are time for looking at my life and preparing to greet Jesus  whenever and wherever he comes.  It's unlikely to be in a manger in Bethlehem but he will be in everyone I meet whether it's a child, a homeless man, a lady with dementia, a sick vicar or anyone else for whom he came.

I'm joining in with Pause in Advent at Tracing Rainbows.  Usually I've had a theme when I've done this but I haven't a clue where my Pauses will go this year!



Friday, 29 November 2019

More thankfulness

Today was play time!   

Add caption
Each month I go to a craft group at Mandy's to make cards and today was the day.  Usually Mandy designs cards for us to copy (but she doesn't mind if we personalise her designs) but today she let us loose to play with her stamps, dies, punches and Christmas themed toys and we made our own designs.



I didn't want to make Christmas cards but I think I have persuaded Father Christmas that I have been good (OK maybe I told a few porkies) so I am hoping he will bring me one or two presents and I made thank-you cards in anticipation.  



Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thankful for you


Special greetings today to my American readers at Thanksgiving!  I hope you have a wonderful day.
And extra special greetings to my friend Connie who usually lives here in the UK but is visiting her family in California.  Connie, I shall hold you to that promise of pumpkin pie when you get home!

I have never had pumpkin pie.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The water isn't just indoors


I live about forty miles from areas where there has been horrendous flooding over the past few weeks.  My dining room is wonderful compared with many people's homes.  I have to wait a couple of months for my new carpets but the damage here is minimal compared to those poor people in South Yorkshire.



However, this area has had its own floods and several road closures.  The church where I led worship last Sunday is about eight miles from home and I had to travel fifteen to get around the various diversions.  The river in Brigg is usually a quiet backwater but it overflowed its banks (not too badly) a few days ago.  I didn't visit then but I have visited twice recently.  The sluices were opened to release water a couple of days ago and the Ancholme is now back to something like normal.



Thursday, 21 November 2019

Life isn't all a bowl of cherries

Life is not at its brilliant best at the moment.  I've got tendonitis in my left shoulder which means that out of my four limbs only my right arm can be reckoned to be in full working order.  If I forget and raise my left arm to adjust my glasses life is very painful.  I'm waiting for an appointment for a steroid injection.

Then there's the dining room/sewing room/spare bedroom.  It is. to say the least, soggy.  I had noticed a strange smell there for a while but couldn't track it down until I went in bare foot and found myself paddling.  The radiator had been leaking and the carpet was soaked.  The landlord arranged a plumber so the radiator has been drained and will be replaced next week.  In the meantime I've shut the door, opened the windows and things are slowly drying out. I've moved the sewing stuff out and can hardly move in my bedroom! 

But Pollyanna should be my middle name.  I'm using the time while the dining room is empty to sort through the cupboards and drawers.  I've claimed a new carpet on my insurance so for just the cost of my excess I'm getting a spiffy new number although it won't be fitted until the end of January so that should give me plenty time to get sorted.

And even the tendonitis is helping me to think through a few gadgets I will need to help me retain my independence as the years go by.

Friday, 8 November 2019

From one tree to another

Yesterday it rained all day and I would have been happy to stay indoors last night but Caistor WI traditionally has a crafty evening in November and it would take more than rain to keep me away from crafting.  Felting, card making, stitchery and book folding were on offer but it wasn't a free choice - names were drawn for each activity.  I was hoping against hope that I'd be allocated to book folding and I struck lucky!  

This was my first attempt at book folding, an upcycling craft involving old paperbacks and not much more.  It was an ideal craft for WI as it takes very little concentration so we all chatted.  Drawing names meant that the usual friendship groups were split and we chatted with people whom we knew only very slightly.  

A simple fold, repeated seventy five times and my old paperback became a tree.  A star mounted on a cocktail stick topped it and I've now got a new decoration ready for Christmas!

Saturday, 2 November 2019

That was October

Well, I've had a lovely month!  I celebrated my birthday.  I visited several friends and went out for lunches with several more.  I still have a house full of flowers. 

I visited Jack!  Actually I visit him fairly often but this time his great grandson was there and his parents (Jack's grandaughter and her husband) were happy for me to bless baby - always a lovely thing to do.  I'm happy to report that Jack is well but at the moment he has considerable family responsibilities so he won't be back on the blog any time soon.  (He still reads it!)

One rather sadder visit was to a friend who has Alzheimer's.  Again I visit most months but it really is a horrible disease.  I can feel my friend disappearing and am determined to enjoy her company for as long as I can.  Visiting people who have dementia is difficult.  C still knows me but her view of the world and the people around her is very strange now.  However, she still likes me to hold her hand and listen.  I hope that if ever I get that dreadful disease someone will do the same for me. 

I've joined with a friend twice for board games sessions.  We have a light meal and a lot of conversation and it's one of my favourite ways of spending a day.  

Health wise it hasn't been one of my better months.  I had a flare up of an on-going digestive problem and I've had tendonitis in my shoulder for several weeks.  This means that of four limbs only one is still in reasonable nick!

I've led worship several times.  Most churches in the area are now adequately staffed but they all need help when someone is ill or needs a break.  As I've been filling in in various places for so long it's quite easy for me to stand in without much hassle,  

So now we're in November.  I've got plans!

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Funnelling love into food.

Preparing food for others is a great delight but one which I experience all too rarely.  However, I make  pretty good "Christmas pudding".  I've put it into inverted commas because I'm not sure if, strictly speaking, it is a Christmas pudding as it has no currants and raisins but dried strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and sour cherries.  No-one complains though.  

I eat alone on Christmas Day but I make puddings for three families. I think they make great Christmas presents as there's nothing to store after the day!

Very Berry Christmas Pudding
100g (3½oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) each dried sour cherries, dried strawberries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries
50g (2oz) each ready-to-eat dried prunes, apricots and figs, roughly chopped
150ml liqueur, preferable fruity but brandy is good too.  
Zest and juice of 1 lemon  
Butter for greasing
75g (3oz) shredded suet
50g (2oz) self-raising flour
125g (4oz) fresh breadcrumbs
½tsp each mixed spice and ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch each of salt and freshly
grated nutmeg
75g (3oz) soft dark brown sugar
2tbsp black treacle
1 Cox's apple, grated
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) pecans, chopped (optional)


Method
1 Put the dried fruit, liqueur, lemon zest and juice into a non-metallic mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Lightly butter a 1 litre (1¾ pint) pudding basin and put in a cool place. I use reusable plastic bowls with lids.
2 The next day, put the soaked fruit into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix together until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, pushing it down firmly, and level the surface.
3 To cook, put the pudding in a slow cooker with water halfway up the basin.  Cook for an hour on high then reduce to low for about ten hours.   Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months. 
4 On Christmas Day put it in a slow cooker for about four hours.  You could microwave but using a slow cooker means less work just before serving and you could even cook it in the garage or other out-of-the-way spot meaning there’s one less thing in the kitchen.  When I have one I cook it in my utility room.


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

57 days

You know what I'm talking about!

And, like it or not, the high street is gearing itself up.  I went to our local garden centre last week and as usual found that I could buy Christmas there.  They sell trees, decorations, food, gifts and anything else you could possible need.


I think many people will, by now, have quietly started their preparations.  Maybe a fruit cake has been made.  Or a pair of socks knitted.  Or special meals planned.  Or even the odd parcel lovingly wrapped and hidden away.  


Most of the blogs I read are written by people who are not content to buy Christmas.  The love which is in our hearts is funelled through our fingers as much as our purses.  We bake, sew, knit, crochet, craft out of love for our families and friends.

One of the first things I make is Christmas cards.  I have a new design each year but I make about a hundred, all the same. Yesterday I finished making the cards.  All I need to do now is write in them!

Monday, 28 October 2019

How did that happen?

I'm sixty eight!  How did that happen?

I know when it happened - last Wednesday, 23rd October if you really want to know - but I can't believe I've been around for sixty eight years.

I'm having a super life.  I was, my Mother told me, a wonderful surprise as she had almost given up hope of a second child.  I was born into a loving family with just one sister but seemingly countless cousins.  I flourished at school (at least until the sixth form which I loathed) and also enjoyed out of school activities. 

I trained as a librarian and did Voluntary Service Overseas as a librarian in Nigeria, setting up school libraries in the former Biafra.  Maybe being in a motor cycle crash and needing medical repatriation wasn't a good idea though!

I worked in libraries in the UK for several years then joined the Civil Service for a few years before starting full time Christian ministry when I was thirty six. 

I was one of the first women to become priests in the Church of England and I worked in the C of E until I retired when I was fifty eight.

Life has not all been a bowl of cherries (what a boring thought!) but it has been good.

And somewhere along the line I have acquired wonderful friends who sent me all these flowers and more for my birthday!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Head above the parapet

Blogland is lovely!  I've had a couple of emails asking if I'm OK and a friend whom I visit has also asked where I've been.  Sorry about the lack of posts.  Truth to tell I had a few days ill a couple of weeks ago and I'm just emerging from three days feeling pretty grotty but it's nothing serious and I just need to get my act together.

This post is just what it says in the title - putting my head above the parapet.  I shall doubtless be back properly before too long but at the moment I feel very tired.  

Monday, 30 September 2019

Mama Mia

The warden showed me something of the technique.  So my Mother got a very special portrait.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Not quite

I spent fifteen years as Rector of a small group of parishes and was privileged to work with some very talented people.  One of my wardens had a great talent for manipulating images.  He took an image of Leo X and two of his cardinals and created a portrait of me with two of my wardens.  I think I look a little jollier (and I hope more approachable) than did His Holiness.  


Monday, 9 September 2019

Words

Isn't language fun!  I've just been over to visit Terra Garden where she has been giggling over "pootling" and "faffing" both of which words are very familiar this side of the Atlantic but apparently not yon side of it. 

I love the richness and diversity of English wherever she is spoke!  The classic is of course that a man going out in the USA in vest and pants would, I believe, look quite respectable whereas here he would raise a few eyebrows especially if he were wearing suspenders as well.  A President can be called Trump in the USA but the word has a very unfortunate slang meaning here. 

I had a batch cooking session last week and I made ratatouille using courgettes from the garden and an aubergine I was given but over the pond I would have had to use zucchini and egg plant for the same dish.  Swede and carrot would have involved the use of rutabaga to go with the carrot.  Bubble and squeak is commonplace here but when I mentioned it previously a couple of American readers didn't know that it could be eaten. 

Come on - can you highlight a few fun differences?

Saturday, 7 September 2019

A seasonal pleasure

Summer can be lovely but autumn brings its own delights.  Comfort food.  Leaf kicking.  Autumn colours.

The downside could be that autumn is the start of cold weather.  And the upside of cold weather is finding cosy blankets to wrap up in.  

I've just fetched my crochet blanket from the airing cupboard where it has spent the summer.  And it is beautifully warm.  I am wrapped up and enjoying something totally mindless on the TV.  Bliss.  

Autumn and winter can be a little depressing but they have their own joys.  

Friday, 6 September 2019

It's been a while . . .

. . .  since I posted on this blog.  I'm having one of those times when getting anything done seems to be an impossible dream.  My get-up-and-go has, as they say, got-up-and gone.  Not unhappy, just a bit flat.



But who could be a bit flat when card making calls!  I went to Mandy's today and came home with three cards - here you go.



You may be thinking that I can't count as there are clearly four cards.  Well, the "Thinking of you" card has already be posted.  

I'm not as dim as I look.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Courage, determination and love

I don't usually officiate at many weddings but by the end of the month I will have done five this year.  They're quite stressful occasions as everyone wants their wedding to be "just so" and some are even more "just so" than others.  


Yesterday I conducted two weddings and one of them will live vividly in my memory.  Like most of my favourite weddings it was on a very limited budget.  These are often the best because they allow family and friends to give of their time, their skill and their love to make the day special.  


Tilly has had a sad year.  They had hoped to get married a few months ago but the wedding was postponed because her father was ill and sadly he died.  However a few weeks ago she and Pete named yesterday as the day.  I knew Tilly slightly and was delighted to be asked to officiate.

Tuesday morning I got an e mail telling me that Pete had an accident on Monday evening and had suffered severe burns to his legs.  He wanted to go ahead so he was well dosed up on morphine and together we worked out the best way to do as elegant a wedding as possible given his limitations.


He was at church in very good time yesterday but he and his best man had managed to leave the rings at their hotel so we waited outside.  Then we got a message to say that the photographer who was also at the hotel had parked her car in such a way as to block the bridal car and she had managed to lock the keys inside the car so not only no rings - no bride!  Eventually she smashed a window and got into her car, bride and rings arrived at church, and the wedding took place.  Pete was obviously in pain but nothing could hide the love which they have for each other.  


There was another sign of love.  Tilly sings in the church choir so all the choir members came and sat in the congregation and sang their hearts out for her.  Not only that they wanted her to have a beautiful wedding so on Friday night they had all nipped into church and filled it with flowers. 

God bless you, Pete and Tracy.   

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

A favourite website

I love words.  One of my reasons for publishing this blog is that I enjoy writing short pieces and thinking of the best ways to express my thoughts.  Each post is saved for a while before it is published and by the time I hit the publish button I will have re-read a post several times.  I like to structure my writing and vary my use of language. 

And I love words!  "Serendipity" is a word which always makes me smile.  "Clariflocculator" is a lovely bubbly word.  "Twill" is a short word which suits its meaning and suggests purposefulness and smartness.

I could go and on but as you will have guessed from the title of the post, I want to suggest a lovely website, viz. https://wordsmith.org   Each week they have a series of linked words - this week all the words are to do with space and space travel.  Sometimes they are words which I know already: today's word is "light-year" but I enjoy the background information and derivation of the word.  Did you know that to get a light-year’s worth of frequent-flier miles you’d need to travel between New York and Moscow only a little over a billion times?  Me neither and I'll probably have forgotten by this time next week but it has amused me today.  Sometimes they are words which I have never heard - could you tell me the meaning of satyagraha?  No?  Well, I'll tell you that it's the policy of passive nonviolent resistance as a protest against injustice.  It was coined by Gandhi during the independence struggles in India and is again in use by civil rights activists.

Each day I get an email from the site.  Why not pop over and take a look!

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Old vicars never die they merely pray away

"Greet one another with a holy kiss" was Paul's instruction to the church at Corinth and he would have been pleased with the church at Croxton today.  I used to take services at Croxton regularly until they got their own vicar a couple of years ago, but today their vicar was away on holiday so I went back. It was wonderful!  I got hugs and kisses and there was a noisy catch-up on events since I was last there.

Ministry in retirement is great fun but it can be very sad because I am inevitably just a stop gap.  I grow very fond of the people (and I think they become fond of me) but what they really want is someone who is very specially "theirs".  At that point I move on and I avoid going back so that the new person can form a special relationship with his/her new congregation without anyone glancing back over their shoulder.  They are in my prayers but not my diary.  



But today I was back at the invitation of the new vicar.  They knew I was coming so they even baked me a cake!  nd I am eating it as I write this post.

Thank you, Croxton!




Friday, 2 August 2019

Three fortunates, one unfortunate

Fortunately the day started off quite well.  I did some ironing, prepared a casserole to cook in the slow cooker, did the competitions and crosswords, tidied up a little and mid-afternoon I felt it was time to sample the casserole.  It  was bubbling in the conservatory and it smelt delicious.

Unfortunately fate had different ideas and the next thing I knew I was on the floor having tripped over the door sill.  And next to me was the clothes airer which I'd fallen on and was no longer airing clothes.  No way could I get up so I tried to hitch myself back over the door sill to get to the phone but I couldn't manage it.  So I sat and shouted. 

Fortunately as it is summer everyone has their windows open so I was heard and neighbours came running.  I wasn't hurt and I had fallen very gently so two strong men hitched me up on to a chair. 

And the third fortunate?  I'd won a case of prosecco so I was able to say thank you in a tangible way.

And maybe there was a fourth fortunate - I hadn't got around to opening the case so I couldn't be accused of having been on the bottle before I fell.  

(don't worry, I've already made arrangements to have the door sill modified.  Just a few weeks ago I had a key safe installed next to the back door so rescuers can get to me.)

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Leaving July behind and entering August

July has been quite a busy month.  The big event of course was the garden party at Lambeth Palace.  I made a skirt which seems to have helped me find my creative mojo again. 
 
New poppy skirt
I’ve lead Sunday worship just once but I have done some midweek services as well as conducting a wedding. That was hectic – the couple had forgotten to tell me that they’d book pipers (bagpipes) and I had to suggest to someone who had decided to sit in the vicar’s stall that she was in my place!   I’ve also been organising three weddings to take in August.  We have a newly ordained deacon here in Caistor so I went to her welcome as well as being in the pews most Sundays. 

I’ve met up with various cousins and friends often for lunch.  I went to a family barbecue and caught up with some relatives whom I see only rarely.

My step count has been very low  Ooops!

August promises to be rather busy.  Three weddings for starters!  I’ve decided to try and complete a few projects craft-wise.  I’ll be posting about those on my other blog. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Friendship Day

One of my feeds tells me that today is International Friendship Day so I've been doing a little bit of hunting on the web and as far as I can see it may be Friendship Day (I hope all days are that!) but certainly not International Friendship Day!   

Friendship Day is a day with a murky sort of presence,  It's celebrated on different days in different countries.  Hallmark Cards tried to promote it back in the nineteen thirties but met with consumer resistance.  (Good for nineteen thirties consumers, say I!)

Anyway, I've been thinking of my various friends whilst I've been indulging in my early  morning coffee.  There's Alice, one of my oldest friends.  I met her when her family came over from Northern Ireland when I was still at school and the headmaster asked me to be her "godmother" until she found her feet.  Fifty years on we are still friends.

There's Amy who came to stay earlier this year. Many years ago she replied to my advert for accommodation when I moved to a new city and she was my landlady for several years.  After a short break I became her landlady but no matter who was lodger and who was landlady we were friends and forty years on we still enjoy each other's company.  

Then there's Sue.  I picked her up at a jumble sale!  She was a great jumble sale go-er and I was behind a stall when we got talking and I mentioned that I was hoping to set up a Guide Company and she offered to help.  Forty years on she is living in France but we still manage to meet at least once a year

There's Jack.  I met him originally when he was my chimney sweep.  We were sorting his daughter's wedding when he told me that my garden looked a mess so I suggested that if he didn't like it he could do something about it.  From that unpromising beginning a real friendship sprang.

I've met many wonderful people over the years and made friends when I have least expected it.  Where have you found friendships?


Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Class of '94


Remember that I said that I was going to a special event this month?  Well yesterday was the day. I was invited to a garden party at Lambeth Palace which the Archbishop and Mrs Welby gave in celebration of the twenty fifth anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood.  I was one of the women who were ordained in those first ceremonies and I was invited!


I'd never been to Lambeth Palace before yesterday.  It has the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London and it's a delightful mixture of herbaceous borders and wild areas.  The Archbishop and Mrs Welby chatted with all their guests and there was a light buffet lunch provided.  

Yesterday was very hot in London and I think most of us found the heat rather trying.

What was even more trying was the journey home.  I boarded my first train at 3pm but the east coast main line was then closed as the overhead cables were damaged so I had to wait until 7.30pm for a train as far as Peterborough.  Fortunately I was able to use the first class lounge - King's Cross station was mayhem and incredibly hot and airless.  Five of us trying to get to Newark were sent there in a taxi and then a very kind gentleman took me to Market Rasen where he lived and I had left my car.  I finally arrived home at nearly midnight after a seventeen hour day which I shall never forget!


Friday, 19 July 2019

More of my family

Four cousins - Hear no evil, see no evil, but no way do we shut up!
The family picnic last month was actually for my father's family.  When I organise it I invite all descendants of my paternal grandparents.  

Everybody smile!
 But of course I had a Mother as well as a Father and we have family get-together for that family too.  I have been involved in organising picnics for them too but in recent years one of my cousins and his wife (Jack and Sarah) have been the main instigators.  They've got four daughters and the baptisms of their five grandchildren have been great occasions for us all.  Two cousins don't live locally and aren't usually involved but the other four surviving cousins are very fond of get-togethers.

Jack and Sarah's daughter has been home from America and, as she and one of her sisters both had a birthday last Friday, we had a family barbecue.  

Saturday, 13 July 2019

A Lovely Town

I've just been into Caistor and had my camera with me.  

Doesn't our Post Office look great!


The lamp posts all around the centre are dressed like this.  
There are pretty plant troughs all around.
And the redundant trap by the church makes a wonderful place for any bride to be photographed.

I'm told it takes ten hours every day to do the watering.  Thank you, to those that do it.