Wednesday, 29 December 2010

a bit of a rant

I admit it - I'm not a sporty person; yes, I've had my moments - I remember watching Arthur Ash winning Wimbledon! 
But I've lived in several areas, including here, where the best radio reception is on longwave. And then the cricket season would come along and I would be deprived of all my favourite programs! I thought my life would get better when Radio 5 was introduced as I was told that this would be for sport - so why was the cricket still broadcast on Radio 4 longwave?
A big fuss has been made about the wonders of DAB radio (although we have no signal here either) and apparently Radio 5 DAB broadcasts the cricket - so why is the cricket still broadcast on Radio 4 longwave.
I wake up in the middle of the night, coughing and spluttering, plug in my earphones to listen to something interesting, only to realise that the ramblings of these men is just the preamble to the last day's play - so I turn on the light, put on my glasses, switch to FM, pull up the aerial, turn the dial, find the best position for the radio and the aerial, lie down and realise that my altered body position alters the reception! Cricket!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

gaudaute! rejoice!

Many decades ago, our school always had it's end of term Christmas service at the local Parish Church.  I remember in the first year being overcome by the beauty of the choir singing 'Gaudaute' as they processed from the crypt up into the Church.  It was a technical school - we didn't learn latin but I loved the carol.  As soon as I was able, I joined the choir and was part of the procession - for me that was the best part of Christmas.  Although as a Baptist I really wasn't sure about bowing to the altar!
When I left school and went to college in London, I made sure that I was back in the Church for the school's Christmas service so that once again I was able to hear 'Gaudaute' first very quietly as the choir started processing and again at the end of the service as they processed back into the crypt.
All these memories stirred up by hearing 'Gautaute' on 'Songs of Praise'.
Gaudaute, gaudaute! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudaute!
Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary - rejoice!


One can always tell if I'm not feeling 100% if I don't pick up my knitting! It's been untouched since Thursday! 
I've had a niggling cough for over a week but Christmas morning I felt really rough - but not enough to stop me from going to Chapel! We drove instead of walking the half mile as we thought the -10degrees would not do me any good! All went well but on coming home I didn't manage to eat my dinner - a very bad sign! So I snuggled up on the settee and slept!
This morning I was feeling better but as it was just as cold we again drove to Chapel.
Yesterday there were 10 of us and today just 7 - the minister and spouse and all the deacons! This was due partly to folk going to their relatives rather than family coming to them but mostly because although the main roads are clear, many folk have to come on side roads which are still covered in compacted snow - now ice!
Because Christmas is a working day for me, the kiddies either stay in their own homes or go to their inlaws and we are quite happy having a very quiet day, with no tree, decorations, turkey or even presents except the one from our eldest. A cd for him and a book for her - chosen from a certain website's wish-list!
I don't think the knitting will be touched for another day but I am enjoying my book 'Sisters of Sinai', about twin sisters who on their travels 150 years ago, discovered some of the earliest copies of the gospels - compelling reading!

Monday, 20 December 2010

seeing red

Here in this part of Wales, when there is a funeral everyone wears black, whereas in the South East of England, I stopped wearing black in the 1970's!
We had another funeral last Friday and again, about 200 people came to pay their respects! Unfortunately, our Chapel only seats about 80; the Baptist Union handbook includes the number we can squeeze in with seating in the school room and the stable! We usually have folk standing outside - these are the people who would never come into a church or chapel!
The weather was not quite so cold as at the previous funeral but everyone came in - shoulder to shoulder standing in the porch and the kitchen!
It was very sad to say goodbye to Barbara as she was so incredibly active in the community; at 77 she was still writing the village news letter and cycling everywhere - including to Chapel. One Sunday last year she was not in Chapel and we learnt that she was with a friend in his micro-light up in the sky!

She died while line-dancing with her friends in the village hall!

There seemed to be nothing wrong with Barbara - such a fit active lady. 
But over the previous few weeks I had noticed that she was one of the first to arrive at Chapel rather than one of the last, and she was singing the hymns even more lustily. On her last Sunday with us, she was one of the last to leave, it was as if she didn't want to go - was she making the most of her time in Chapel? She talked to me about the previous funeral and said that she would like everyone to wear some red to her funeral! I thought that would be a long time in the future!

We could always see Barbara coming as she always wore red - she loved the colour! I was not the only one she had told about her funeral arrangements and word soon spread around!

Everyone did wear black but there were red scarves worn by the most conservative of men, red gloves and hats - it was an amazing sight!
The family said that they would love it if the Christmas tree was up for the funeral - and it was decorated with red decorations.
It did stop snowing, and the Council followed the family's request and gritted the minor roads!
The sun shone and a red kite (the feathered variety) flew overhead!

So many stories were told; she taught her french Grandson how to play football, she had organised village pantomimes, she had even arranged for a donkey at Chapel one Palm Sunday!
She was a wonderful lady and will be missed.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

a nice surprise

Yesterday I awoke to a couple of inches of snow and as I was tired after the emotions of my first funeral with burial, I decided that the settee was the best place to spend the day!
With the aid of my trusty laptop I was able to prepare Sunday's service, and then contemplated my monthly visit to Spurgeon's which enables me to see all my kiddies - they are all in their thirties now but I still refer to them as little goats! I decided to cancel as I did not want to get stuck on the motorway! So as well as being tired I was now sad as I would not be seeing the kiddies and SuperStan and TrifficTed, the grandboys, before Christmas.
Then the front door bell rang, it was my neighbour who helps out at the school with a large brown envelope and a small present.
Inside the envelope were 11 A4 pieces of paper all with a photocopied sketch of the Chapel, each coloured in, with messages of thanks from the pupils who visited the Chapel a couple of weeks ago. They are so lovely that I'm going to put them up on the porch wall so that folk can look at them as they come into Chapel. The present was a box of Maltesers which I love, and allow myself just a couple after dinner!
They were all quite unexpected and it was lovely to see that the children had had a fun time! It quite brightened my day!