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Tuesday 21 May 2019


There's something very special about old friends.

I've been lucky enough to collect friends all my life.  Some people prune their Christmas card list of people whom they haven't seen for years but for me those are some of the most important cards to send and the most exciting to receive.  I love to hear of the friends of my youth now they are grandparents and enjoying the privilege of retirement.

Even better than receiving cards is seeing old friends.  A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Sue to tell me that she and Ken, her husband, would be over from in the UK from their home in France and we agreed to meet at another friend's house.

I met Sue over forty years ago and together we set up a Guide company and had great fun organising activities for the Guides.  I was the first to move away from the area but eventually Sue and Ken moved to France where they have now been settled for many years.  I went to their home for a holiday a few years ago, soon after I retired.

Doreen has been a friend for almost as long.  Her daughter was one of our Guides and Doreen came as a helper.  She's a bit older than Sue and me and unfortunately had a fall just before Christmas.  Usually when Sue and Ken come we go for a pub lunch but today they took an Indian meal to Doreen's house and we got together around Doreen's dining table,  As always the conversation flowed freely as we caught up on each other's stories.  

On Friday I shall be meeting up with Alice and we will be celebrating fifty years of friendship as we've known each other since we were in the sixth form.  Long time readers of this blog may remember Alice as Bobo's human  .  (I've put a link for you to click through or just check "Bobo" on my sidebar.)

Maintaining old friendships sometimes involves a bit of effort but it's well worth it.  

Sunday 19 May 2019


Last month I celebrated my Silver Jubilee as a priest but I have actually been in stipendiary ministry since 1987, first as a lay worker, then as a deacon before I was priested in 1994.  I retired from stipendiary ministry early in 2010 when I was 58.

I took a year out to be carer for my only sister who died at the end of 2010 and soon after that I started to do the "odd Sunday".  It didn't take long for that to become every Sunday so from 2011 to 2016 I led worship in The Brocklesby Park Group of Churches, a group of five parishes with no other Sunday clergy.  It was wonderful.  I felt fulfilled but not overworked and I was rather sorry for myself when a new vicar was appointed and I had to move on.

Then for nearly a year I helped in the Walesby Group of Parishes.  There was already a Non Stipendiary Minister there but she needed a bit of help with the Sunday worship in that group of nine parishes.  I wasn't needed every Sunday but whenever they needed me I tried my best to respond.  They got a "real" vicar eventually and I expected life to become quieter.

But the Kelsey Group (eight churches) was having difficulty finding a new priest so once again I found myself needed every Sunday and also for the occasional offices as baptisms and weddings and funerals are known (think special services for special occasions).  I have been busier than I have ever been since I retired.  Every Sunday I take a service and so with visiting and service preparation I have been very busy

Next month the Revd Marion will arrive to be Vicar there and once again I will not be needed.  As in both the previous groups I've been asked to continue to help out and while I'm happy to enable regular clergy to have their holidays I'm not willing to continue on a regular basis.  This year I have bookings to go back to both the Brocklesby Park Group and the Walesby Group and I shall go joyfully and am sure I will be warmly welcomed back. 

So I am now on my round of farewells in the Kelsey Group of Churches.  It is bittersweet for I am sad to leave them but happy that they have a new priest coming. 

And I hope they will pray for me as God shows me what he has in mind for me over the coming months.

Saturday 18 May 2019

Sixteen days

Amy, my friend from Dorset, will be here in sixteen days for a four day break so I've got to get ready!

You may remember The Project which I started earlier in the month but sad to say I haven't done much of it.  Anyway I got stuck in yesterday and thought I had better report back.

Quite apart from making space for Amy to sleep I want to sort out some of my UnFinished Objects to make it a little easier to actually finish them.  So far I've found some Advent bunting, clothes hangers to be covered and used as presents and a crochet blanket.  My hope is that on sunny summer days I'll be able to feel very busy when I sit on my swing all afternoon!

I've also tried to introduce a little order into my home-made cards.  Finished ones tend to get tossed into a box and I can never find a suitable one when I need one so the stash just grows.  I've now utilised some Amazon packaging to create folders for Birthdays, Christmas, Thank you, Sympathy and so on.  I'll see if that helps.

I've sorted quite a bit to list on EBay - competition prizes, craft materials etc and will get them listed.  That's a time consuming business and lower priority than finding space for Amy to sleep!

I'm hoping to get back in there today and I might take a few photos.  Then again I might not. 

Friday 17 May 2019

Playing with fire

Some time ago I had my first attempt at pyrography at Women's Institute.   The lady who came to demonstrate and teach was very good but a friend had a very good and much simpler idea - why not make rather nice plant labels.

So last week I did just that and made labels for all the varieties of potato I am growing this year.  I think they look rather good. 

Monday 13 May 2019

Happy decluttering!

While I was sorting my playroom I found a couple of "extra" presents which I had bought at Christmas.  I'd bought four originally but two had not been needed.

But what joy these amaryllis have brought me!  At first I thought they weren't going to do anything but suddenly both really sprang into life and here are the results.

I think I like the second one better: it's less showy but more unusual.  Both are looking good in my sitting room.  

Other people have amaryllis at Christmas.  I'm different!

Sunday 12 May 2019

In the steps of Uncle Palmer

I've written several times about Uncle Palmer, actually my uncle by marriage  and the husband of Great Aunt Nora.  So far as I know he spent all of his ministry in Lincolnshire and I've conducted worship in "his" churches at Thoresway,  and Walesby  Today I went to Cuxwold and I think this may have been his favourite for it is in this churchyard that Palmer and Nora are both buried.

This and Rothwell, the neighbouring village, formed the last benefice he held before retirement.  Cuxwold is a tiny blink-and-you-miss-it village and Rothwell rather larger so the vicarage was at Rothwell.  I remember visiting Rothwell Vicarage as a child and being fed the delicious crystallised fruit that Aunt Nora received each Christmas from a wealthy parishioner.  

The church is tiny, seating maybe fifty or sixty people but it has a spacious sanctuary.  The Book of Common Prayer is still used and the choice of hymns was rather old fashioned but it felt like true country worship.  I hope Uncle Palmer would have approved.  

 Those of you who know about these things will recognise this as a Saxon arch which is the entrance to the tower.  (The lettering is Victorian.)  The site has therefore been in use for worship for at least a thousand years even though most of the church dates only from the latter part of the eleventh century.  

Monday 6 May 2019

A project

I've got a project!  I needed something to help me break out of my lethargy and it's arrived.  My friend Amy, who lives in Dorset, will be visiting me in June.  I'm feeling excited already.

The lethargy will definitely have to go.  This is the room she will be sleeping in.  Or not if I don't do something about it.  

I keep telling myself that I managed to sort the playroom so I can sort this one too.

I've definitely got a project.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Adieu, April - maybe I'll get more done in May?

I've not been good at posting on either of my blogs this month but c'est la vie.  And two bits of "forrin" are definitely enough for one post!  

I've been busy working - as could be expected for Easter tide.  Every Sunday plus three funerals and extra services during Holy Week in fact.  I've also marked my Silver Jubilee of priesting but that was quiet and private.

I've started to get the garden in order for the summer.  My gardener has been twice and I've pottered a fair bit myself.  May is when I start to enjoy the fruits of our joint labours.

I just feel idle at the moment.  I've got some cousins coming later and I just can't get moving.  I wish I could.