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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.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

You can't direct the wind but you can adjust your sails

Sue at  The Cottage at the end of a Lane has been reflecting today on technology, living alone, and the simple life.  (Hope that's a fair summary, Sue, if you're reading!)  She's certainly made me think.

I've lived alone for most of my adult life.  When I was younger I would let out a room which helped with the budget, and I was a carer in my own home for several years, but basically, I live alone and I like it.  

"Alone" is, for me a neutral word,  "Loneliness" is a sad word, and "Solitude" is a happy word and I could use all three to describe different parts of my life.  I spend most of my life alone: a few days I am lonely and long for company when there's no-one around to share with, but most days I enjoy the solitude.  

John Donne wrote, "No man is an island" and neither is this woman.  I have no immediate family but I put a lot of energy into maintaining good relationships with my wider family, some of whom rarely or never reciprocate but that's their choice.  The time they can be guaranteed to remember me is when they need to organise a funeral!!!  Technology is a boon in keeping in contact.  I'm a great letter writer but many people prefer a text, email or phone call.  

The time will come when I will need to rely even more on technology to keep me comfortable and safe.  Personal alarms and sensors, an automatic door for the garage, maybe buying frozen meals if food preparation becomes too hard, and the many new ideas which are being developed may all play their part in my future.  

I'm part of the church.  My vocation in retirement means I'm not a regular member of any congregation but rather lead worship where I'm needed (although at the moment I am participating rather more in worship at my local church) and I think this has nudged me into seeing the church in a much deeper way.

And I have friends.  I'm going out to a local cafe today for lunch with a friend and last week I was at a sea-side picnic to celebrate the birthday of another friend.  I can have a chat on the phone any time and can just get in my car and go visiting. 

Last (for the moment!) and by no means least, I have bloggy friends, some of whom I've met face-to-face, with some I exchange emails and many whose blogs I comment on or who comment on mine.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Family Picnic

There's not a lot to be said in favour of going to family funerals except that it's a time when families get together.  In ours it's also a time when someone always says, "We really should meet other than at funerals" and then forgets all about it until the next family obsequies.

After my sister's funeral in 2011 I decided to organise an annual family picnic at Clumber Park, a National Trust property in Nottinghamshire.  Organise is maybe too strong a word for what I do - I choose a date, specify where we will go and tell everyone to bring their own food, chairs and anything else they want.  I can't say it's ever well attended but those who come enjoy it.

Last Sunday was "The Day" and six of us met up.  There would have been eight but Clumber was very busy and two managed to get lost in the park.  Three hours non-stop chatter, a lot of sandwiches and quite a bit of lemonade later we all went home but not before someone took this charming photo of yours truly.  I think I would make an excellent standard lamp.  

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Looking back and moving on

So, June is over and July begins.  How did June go?

I think it's fair to say that June was more than a little damp.  And cold.  I had to have the heating on a couple of times.  However, I still did things.

Early in the month Amy came and we had days out at Gunby Hall and a local spa.  We also talked non stop.  Her visit also involved quite a bit of tidying and decluttering so she could have a bed.

My step count has not been very good this month.  I've been very lethargic and I've found it difficult to get myself motivated to do anything.

I've been in a pew rather than a stall on most Sundays although I have led mid-week worship twice and conducted a really jolly wedding.  

I went to a seaside picnic to celebrate a friend's birthday and our annual family picnic at Clumber Park.  This wasn't well attended but those who went enjoyed it.  

So, on to July.

The weather has improved so I'm hoping to get out into the garden a little more.  It's a whole new month so I have reset my walking target.  I've got a couple of skirts cut out and ready to sew.

And I've got an invitation to a very special event which I will tell you about after it has happened.