Sunday, 25 March 2012


and I don't mean nut clusters... or maybe I do, hearing the amount of laughter and glorious silliness at the meeting we had yesterday!
For those of you reading this who are not aware of Baptist structures, about 30 years ago, churches were encouraged to link up with other Baptist churches in their area for support and encouragement.
When I lived 'up north', there were three churches in our cluster but one was a large inner-city church, one a small sea-side church and the third a rural farming chapel. Apart from being Baptist we had nothing in common.
However, here in Wales we have the 'Rural Churches' consisting of eight small churches and chapels all around the English/Welsh border; some are in villages while others seem to be in the middle of nowhere but all are struggling. Two have full-time ministers, one a part-time minister and there is also a lay pastor both who regularly preach at the chapels without ministers. But one of the main reasons it works is because in this area of farms you will often find relatives marrying someone from a different chapel! and it seems to be quite a static community with farms being passed on down the generations.
Over the years we have been meeting four times a year where there is plenty of time for conversation catching up with friends, eating, worshipping and praying together. But this year we also held a study group looking at small churches and many folk come to our Services of Prayer for Healing.
Yesterday we had a Prayer Lunch; we used to have a Prayer Breakfast but it meant a very early start for those who prepared the meal! In early summer we have a Praise evening, in late summer we hold a barbecue and in December we have an Advent Service. And this morning we had the pleasure of Joy, the Lay Pastor take our service.

Monday, 19 March 2012

the walk pt.2

Today the legs seem to be OK but yesterday afternoon, having walked to Chapel and back they were telling me that they knew they had walked up the hill the day before!
This is the view of the hill taken from my study window. I am very grateful to our neighbours who cut down their large ugly conifers last year as the trees had obscured my view! I don't get this view when sitting at my desk but by kneeling on my desk and leaning out of the window. As you can see the weather was glorious this morning!
On Saturday we walked up to the top which is in shadows and then along the top to as far as you can see. One day I would like to go further but not sure about walking all the way to Hay! although I know that one of my blogging friends, now in Scotland, has walked the Offa's Dyke path which runs across the fields at the back of our house and then follows the route we took.
As a diabetic I have to be careful over my insulin and food input with the energy I use walking. So on a walking day, I skip my breakfast injection and just before we leave I am allowed to have toast or bread spread liberally with marmalade! Within half an hour, I have a treat of a sugary biscuit, another half hour and I can eat a sweet and then with my sandwiches, I can have a piece of cake! such luxury!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A walk

When we were looking for a house to buy, we told the estate agents that it had to be detached - not only because we didn't want to hear what the neighbours were doing but because we like to play our music loud! What we didn't say was that we would like it to be within walking distance of a baptist church or chapel and that we would like to put our boots on indoors to walk the hills - ie. we didn't want to drive first!
Fortunately three years ago, a suitable house came on the market - the fact that we still are no-where getting it to how we would like it is beside the matter, but also goes to explain why we have not walked across the fields and up our favourite hill since we moved here!
Until today!
We made the decision on Thursday and watched the weather forecast which improved over the last two days - but we go prepared for rain anyway.
I was quite surprised at my energy levels and we walked further than we last went four years ago. There was a little precipitation in the air when we stopped for coffee but there were pockets of blue sky by lunch time and as we sat on the top we could see Hereford and the Malvern Hills in the distance and the Bristol Channel in the other direction.
The sheep on the top had very thick coats which seemed much whiter than those down on the fields.
As well as the sheep, there were wild ponies. In the past these ponies would have been taken south to the valleys and then down the mines where they would have stayed for many years.
We are on Hatteral Hill looking across to The Skirrid, a hill that we usually climb up the sharp angle, which is the quickest way from home.
These two ponies were obviously friends, rubbing their heads and necks together and you can see from their manes and tails, it was quite breezy!
Our legs were a bit wobbly as we got nearer home and it tried to rain but by the time we had stopped to put on our over-trousers the rain left off and we didn't get the deluge promised by the weather forecast.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

forty years on

I'm the only one from my family who wasn't addicted to photography. Both my parents belonged to a photographic club and my brother joined in his early teens and won most of the prizes! My Dad took colour slides and Mum took black and white photos which she then developed and printed herself which explains why this is a black and white photo and why she is not in it! It was taken at my eldest son's party after his dedication. He loves it as he sees himself as being the centre of attraction - which of course he was!
This last Sunday was his son Oliver's christening and I suggested that we recreate the photo and Mark insisted that I was in the photo rather than behind the camera, for which I was grateful as I now have to get others to take photos with my camera as my shakey hands mean fuzzy pictures!
There are three people who are in both photographs, Mark, on the right with the bright pink tie! his Dad, at the back with beard (he is the one with long hair and seventies' moustache in the original photo!) and I'm on the left of Oliver (on Mark's right in the original).
It was earlier in the day when the original was taken so Mark was happy to pose, but by this time Oliver had had enough!
The christening was held in their local church in Epping Forest and as it is called the church of the Holy Innocents, the font is at the front of the church. It was a beautiful service, with his Auntie Mandie reading a poem and I said a prayer. As well as each of the Godparents also making the sign of the cross on Oliver's forehead, the lady vicar held Mark and Katie's hands together and blessed them in caring for Oliver. Then it was a short walk back to their home for the party!