Thursday, 26 December 2013

a bit of an update

I can remember where I was when my previous photo on this blog was taken - in the back garden when I was visiting my new grandboy who was a week old - he is now three and a half! I also felt it was time for a new layout.
We usually have a quiet Christmas but this year the run up to Christmas was even quieter.
A bug has been going around our village with many people saying they have the flu - but those who have previously had the flu know that if you can get out of bed to pick up a twenty pound note outside - you have not got the flu!
I could get out of bed and could do a certain amount but having pushed myself to go to a conference at the end of November and instead spent the day in bed in a hotel room. I then knew I had to cancel everything and get better.
So I didn't go to the Book Club Christmas party, the Rural Churches Advent service, the village Christmas fair, the Coffee Club Christmas dinner or visit two grandboys. But my biggest disappointment was to miss the funeral of my cousin who died one day short of her 58th birthday from MS. 
I last saw Judith seven years ago when I took my Mum up to mid Wales to meet with Judith and my Aunt. In her younger days Judith learnt to fly and when we met up was still able to drive but needed to use a wheelchair to get around as did my Mum. The four of us had a very giggly lunch together and then my Aunt in her 70's suggested that we had a race back to our cars but we did manage to control ourselves and push the wheelchairs and their occupants back in a respectful manner!
We are secure in the knowledge that Judith is now free from all pain, with her Dad and wonder if she can now fly without the aid of an aeroplane!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sarah and Paul 25 years ago

I met her in the summer
she was beautiful
Some said she knew it
Sarah was American
with long curly auburn hair.

I met him in the autumn
I called him, her beloved -
they talked of marriage.
Paul was American -
so handsome.

During the autumn months
we shared many moments.
Watching a fashion show video,
talked about we should wear,
Discussed the Last Temptation of Christ
Laughed together while dressing up
Exchanged ideas over meals.
How funny they were taking the mickey out of Jim and Tammy Baker.

They flew home for Christmas
They have been front page news for the last week.

They loved Jesus

They live on in my memories,
in my photograph album and on my video, 
modelling and acting on a Christmas Celebration -

"Hello Jesus - Let me introduce myself"

written 29th December 1988

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I was sixteen...

in 1963. I was still at school doing my 'O' levels. I had already taken maths and english in the fifth form (failing english!) but timetable was such that I was able to do most of my homework in spare periods which suited me just fine.
It was a great time, the Beatles were becoming very famous but it still took a few weeks for their singles to reach number one - after that they reached number one before anyone was able to buy the record one pre-release sales.
That week in November 'She loves you' was number two with Gerry and the Pacemakers 'You'll never walk alone' in the top slot. It went on to become the anthem of Liverpool football club.
Each year our church had a youth outreach weekend with events on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I arrived at the church hall with my friend who noticed that one of the lads was leaning against the wall looking rather shell-shocked. She asked him what was wrong to be told the Kennedy had been shot - it was some time before we learnt that he had been killed instantly. But being youth, most of us were able to carry on and enjoy the evening.

During the week our family would sit down to dinner in the dining room but at weekends Mum would prepare a wonderful 'high' tea, served on the large coffee table while we would listen to the football results and then watch the TV. So I saw it; the very first Doctor Who and have been an avid follower, especially since it was re-born with Christopher Eccleston.
My favourite Doctors? its a difficult choice between the earlier Jon Pertwee and Peter Davidson but overall it has to be David Tennant.
That final year at school was the best of my school life, I was studying subjects that I enjoyed along with being able to sew in the evenings and I made friends with whom I have never lost touch but I will never forget that weekend.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I'm reviewing the situation

Every so often in my life, I have stopped and thought about the things I'm doing and the things I want to do and realising that there are not 25 hours in each day and 8 days in each week and I need my sleep, something has to go.
The last time was back in 2009 when I stepped down from the Baptist Union Council and from being a member of the planning committee of 'Men Women and God'. This made way for my calling to be the minister of Zoar Baptist Chapel.
Way back, I was accused by my minister of never staying at one thing - but then I was a mother of two small boys and life for a mother as they grow up is constantly changing.
I have now told the folk at Zoar that I wish to cut back on the number of times I preach during the year. At the moment I 'do' the 1st and 3rd Sundays, taking holidays when it is a 'five Sunday' month. Next year, there will be some months when I only preach on the 1st Sunday, giving me a long break in which to walk the hills, finish decorating the house and do further research into the life of Mrs Spurgeon. I have nearly finished an article - it just needs a few tweeks - and hopefully it will be accepted for publication by the Baptist Quarterly.
I also wondered about pulling out from our village book club as it takes up a morning when I would otherwise be writing a sermon. But we had such a good time discussing The Richard Burton Diaries this morning that I have decided that it is too good to miss.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

harvest festival

When I first arrived at this little chapel I was warned that it was like stepping back in time thirty years but I was quite happy with that. I use the pulpit, wear a dog collar on special occasions and we have a 'hymn sandwich' service. Thirty years ago at the suburban church I attended it was decided that we should no longer decorate the church and bring along our baskets of fruit and vegetables for the Harvest Festival - no-one seemed to want them afterwards - all the Old People's Homes were overwhelmed with so much produce from so many churches that they could not use. So we were asked to bring tins and if my memory serves me right - used tins with money inside!
Here at Zoar we still celebrate Harvest in a big way, especially as it is a farming community and this year the farmers are very happy, having had an excellent harvest.
Apologies for the quality of the photo - it has come to me via a pc onto my mac and gone blurry but there is corn and fruit and vegetables, bread, eggs, coal and salt along with flowers on every window sill. 
After the service, flowers were sent to those unable to attend and the vegetables were taken to make soup, apples taken to make pies, other fruit to make fruit salad ready for our Harvest Lunch on Saturday. We have quite a reputation for our Harvest Lunch and others come from out-lying chapels and the Vicar comes from up the road and no-one will need to eat for the rest of the day after the four-course meal of soup, salad with ham and meat and/or a veggie quiche, dessert and cheese and biscuits, tea and coffee! The flowers and the remaining fruit and vegetables will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the BMS (Baptist Missionary Society). There will be much fun and laughter.

Monday, 16 September 2013

they are not called Lakes...

Thursday 12th Sept.
...most of them are referred to as Waters or Meres.  We are now camped just outside Hawkshead which is just north of Esthwaite Water which is situated between Windermere and Coniston Water. Hawkshead was heaving with tourists this morning - we tend not to think of ourselves as tourists! as we used to live on the outskirts of the Lake District. It seems that most people come to look at the quaint houses dating back to at least the 15th century along with where William Wordsworth went to school and many ‘shops’ about Beatrix Potter who lived very near here and was inspired to write and illustrate her books as well as help to start the National Trust and she made sure that the breed of Herdwick sheep survived. Sorry no photos of sheep, but they are grey and have fluffy legs so look more like large dogs!
Most tourists are unlikely to know that they are only a short walk away from a beautiful quiet ‘lake’ with a swan with its cygnets and about fifty mallard ducks - no boats, no people, just a few cars on the road on the opposite side of the lake. It was so peaceful.
Our walk to the village entails tramping across fields which are often edged with large pieces of slate, the look and size of tombstones! very applicable for the churchy boundary!
Heard on the news today that the Church of Wales has voted in favour of Women Bishops, Yippee!

Friday13th Sept.
Today we opted for a walk away from the crowds up into Grizedale Forest, our aim being to reached an un-named little water. On the way I saw lots of blackberries which were not quite ripe and remembered waking early and listening to the farming programme on Radio4 - there had been a scientific experiment comparing blackberries picked along-side urban roads, rural roads and those bought in a supermarket. The result was that they all had a certain amount of chemicals in them but there was not that much difference. Their conclusion was that it was quite safe to eat roadside blackberries - whereas my conclusion is don’t buy supermarket berries - only eat those from hedgerows well away from any road!
We reached the little water... it was so quiet and still, as you can see from the reflection of the trees - and we were the only people there!

Saturday 14th Sept.
We got on our bikes and cycled to the southern end of Esthwaite Water, where we sat on the shore eating cake! As a diabetic, the expending of lots of energy walking up hills and cycling means I can indulge in very fruity home-made cake.
A passing swan but without cygnets made the picture complete.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

moving on

Tomorrow we leave the club campsite with all its facilities including wifi and go to the centre of the Lakes near Hawkshead where we will be staying on a 'certified' site, which means we should be one of only five campers on a very quiet site.

After our last visit to Gretchen on Friday afternoon, I again felt tired but not exhausted, but I also had a deep feeling of calm which has stayed with me and it is still there! although I do still have my tremor but I can at least eat my dinner with a knife and fork instead of a spoon which has been happening recently!

We have been taking things very easily over the weekend - no strenuous walks - but a gentle stroll this morning on the shore of the Esk estuary. This photo was taken last year, but the weather was just the same this morning, except for a few clouds until we got back to the camper when the heavens once again opened! We think the posts originally held up fishing nets but today often hold up washing lines!

Friday, 6 September 2013

catching up

Although I have not written anything here recently, it is not for lack of something to say - just that I seem to be busy when something comes to mind!
Paul successfully completed the Etape and just came in the first third of those completing the course but it did take him a couple of days to recover!

When looking forward to our holiday here we were prepared for it to be much cooler than at home and very wet. But having been here for four glorious days this is our first wet day and we had already decided to have a restful morning 'doing nothing' before going for our treatment at the Centre for Complementary Care this afternoon.
I first met Gretchen when we lived on the edge of the Lake District and I attended a day of Christian Contemplative Prayer and she was one of the speakers. We then visited the Centre on a regular basis but I did not have any treatment until a couple of years ago when my tremor was getting particularly bad and any pills I took just zonked me out!

One would think that lying on a high bed for nearly an hour, sometimes falling asleep, sometimes chatting while Gretchen sitting on an office wheelie chair slowly goes around you lightly touching first your left upper arm, moving to your left hand, down to your feet, up the right side of your body and then lightly holding your head, would make you feel relaxed and revived!
But although the feeling after the treatment is one of being relaxed, it is shortly followed by feeling tired and exhausted and being warned not to do too much for the rest of the day! We have now learnt that it is best not to go for a long strenuous walk the next morning either - hence our lazy morning while the rain patters on our camper-van's roof!
It will be our last session of four this afternoon and although I have not noticed a great reduction in my 'shakes', something has been happening!

Friday, 5 July 2013


For those of you who like me, until a few months ago, had never heard of this word - the 'Etape du Tour' is a day's cycle ride for anyone up for it, in the middle of the 'Tour de France'. My younger son, who is just a few months off his fortieth birthday has been training hard and is flying off to France today, ready to cycle 100 miles up and down the French Alps on Sunday.
He has loved cycling since he was 10 and very briefly thought about taking it up professionally but decided against it because of the amount of drug use at that time, and as he would have to cycle 100 miles every day to keep in top form he thought he would like to have a life instead!
He is now a buyer for a chain of bicycle shops but loves to cycle whenever possible - mountain biking as well as on the road.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

europe and bees

So Nigel Lawson has declared that when/if there is a referendum he will vote for Britain to come out of Europe. In the last referendum he voted for Britain to go into the EU while I was very grateful that I was away on holiday with friends (who I met at Assembly over the weekend). I remember it well - it was the same summer that snow stopped play at a big cricket match! I was 27 back in 1975, I knew how to sew and how to keep my sanity while bringing up two small boys but I didn't know whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing to go into Europe!
I am quite a bit older now, although I don't feel it inside and I am very fortunate to have a skeleton and muscles that still behave themselves even though other bits are not so good!
But I still would not know which way to vote. We don't know what life would be like if we had not gone into the EU back in 1975 and we don't know what would happen if we came out of the EU.
But I am very grateful that we are in the EU and I will now quote from 'Riverford', from whom we get a box of fruit and vegetables each week and who won 'Farmer of the Year' in 'Radio 4's Food Awards'.
"Hurrah! In a triumph for bees and the independence of science, our Environment Secretary and the chaps from Syngenta were defeated last week by an EU commission vote, which will now restrict the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops. To descend to the Defra position, where nature is expendable unless it can be demonstrated incontrovertibly that it is worth saving on economic grounds, would be hugely depressing. It makes me ashamed to be human and even more ashamed to be British. Thankfully there was more enlightenment elsewhere in Europe - as well as a great number of passionate Brits campaigning here."

Monday, 6 May 2013

Women! written Saturday posted Monday!

Getting a wifi signal while at the Assembly can be difficult - and coming away without the laptop’s charger makes life even more difficult! At last I have some time to blog but this may not be posted until after I get home on Monday although I’m writing this early on Saturday evening.

Great news, we have a new General Secretary - a woman! Lynne Green - and if you read my previous post - she was one of the names I had in mind. I knew of Lynne when I was on the Baptist Union Council - everyone seems very happy. We also have a woman Moderator of Council, a woman Moderator of the Trustees and a woman Vice President. This has been a huge change - only a few years ago all the top positions were held by grey haired men in grey suits!
Today has been one of meeting up with friends as previously arranged but also bumping into friends; one from over thirty years ago and the other from my childhood and teenage years, totally unexpected and quite wonderful!
Having met my blogging friend for breakfast we went to Morning Prayers; a quiet reflective time which we both felt was very special. It was led by Amanda who I first met when I went to meetings at the Baptist Headquarters in Didcot. Amanda will be leaving at the end of next week, and I wish her God’s blessing in her few weeks off before starting an exciting new position. 

Friday, 3 May 2013


It has been a bit quiet on the blogging front due to Easter, a holiday in the Lake District when I went down with a bug that had been going around Chapel - although I don't think I caught it there as folk know they have a cold I appreciate it if they stay at home! and also more home improvements but with someone else doing the work!
I have now arrived in Blackpool for the annual Baptist Assembly.
There is so much to look forward to... and meeting friends comes top of my list - and I've already bumped into a blogging friend. I was so concerned that our paths would not meet that we have arranged to have breakfast together tomorrow.
Then I'm meeting a friend from teenage days - gosh we have been friends for 50 years!
Tomorrow morning the new General Secretary will be announced. The Baptist Union is going through a big shake up and like the position of Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope - no-one wants the job. It will be very interesting to see who gets it! I have a couple of ideas - but doubt if I'm right!
But first things first... I'm off to a prayer meeting - it is so good to start the weekend together in prayer.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Having wondered in my last post what the Archbishop of Canterbury would be wearing last Thursday, I was left with mixed feelings. On one hand I was a bit disappointed that he was not wearing a cope that had been specially made for the occasion but that was more than outweighed by the fact that it was the same outfit that he wore as Bishop of Durham and even then it was second-hand!
The cope, stole and mitre had been made for the Revd. Ian Cundy and given to him as a gift when he left St. John's College, Durham where he was a tutor to take up the position of Bishop of Lewes and then Bishop of Peterborough. Sadly he died at the age of 64 but his family kept the set of vestments in the hope that one day this 'mantle' would pass to the right person.
Ian Cundy was Justin Welby's tutor at college and both families worshipped at the same church and became friends, and when Justin became Archbishop of Durham he was offered the vestments and they fitted perfectly! And so, on being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin declined the offer of a new set.
Likewise the new Pope, Francis 1 is wearing simple vestments, so unlike the previous Popes. He is also wearing black shoes under a simple white habit rather than the hand-made red loafers worn by Benedict. Pope Francis 1 is also placing himself on the same level rather than elevated on a throne when welcoming people and has also started inviting guests to his early morning Mass - including Vatican gardeners, street sweepers, kitchen staff and maids working at the hotel where he is currently staying.
I look forward to the ministry of both Francis 1 and Justin Welby.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Justin's cope

I've never been quite sure if I passed my 11+ or not. This is mainly due to my Mum emphasising that the adults in my life got together and decided that I would enjoy a more technical education. When it came time to choose my subjects for GCEs, I chose along with a few academic subjects to take cookery, needlework and embroidery! And the most difficult subject that I undertook was embroidery!
I not only had to know all the different stitches but I had to be able to do it and design for it and know the history of it. Like maths there were three exams to cover all aspects but the exams were far longer.
Studying for the history of embroidery entailed several visits to museums including the British Museum where we looked at copes which were hundreds of years old. They were kept in huge semi-circular wooden boxes so that they were stored flat.
A cope is the cape worn by bishops on ceremonial occasions.
Back last November, Rowan Williams handed back his cope to the people of Wales (he was previously Bishop of Wales). It is thought the the cope cost around £10,000 and was made in Wales from Welsh materials. It was hand-woven in silk, embroidered with gold wire work and lined with Welsh flannel.
For the legal ceremony yesterday, Justin wore plain black and white but at his enthronement in March he will be wearing a cope, mitre and stole. The delay between November when he was chosen until his enthronement could be because there will be some very busy people designing and making these garments. I wait with interest to see his outfit!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

riding bikes

I got my first two-wheeler bike for my eighth birthday - it was too big for me so until I grew I had wooden blocks on the pedals!
We were a bike riding family - Dad rode to the station everyday, parking his bike in the bike sheds at the church near by. Mum rode hers to do the shopping with a basket on the front and my brother in a seat behind hers.
And later on we all cycled to church; Dad in front, then me, followed by my brother and then my Mum. By the age of ten I was cycling to school, dancing lessons, Girl's Life Brigade and Sunday School - all of which were at least two miles away.
I passed the cycling genes onto my sons and daughter all of whom have cycled to school and work at one time or another, even if it was over ten miles into the centre of London!
Paul, my younger son has always had a very special love of bikes. At a very young age he borrowed my bike to do the London to Brighton Bike ride with Mark and his Dad. And within a few years he was doing it on his own bike by himself and arriving in Brighton within a very good time, ringing me up to tell me the good news.
While at school he got a weekend job working in a bike shop - his wages each week came home in the form of bike bits in a carrier bag and his 18th birthday present was a bike frame for all the bike bits! He joined a cycling club and raced.
It was very obvious to us all that cycling was Paul's life!
When it came to choosing a career, as parents we thought cycle racing would be his choice.
But no! as a seventeen year old he knew and told us that not only would he have to practice by cycling a hundred miles everyday he would have to take drugs.
A schoolboy knew that over twenty years ago! There are some things in this life that many of us just don't know!
Paul is still cycling, sometimes with his 5yr old son and he carries on buying bike bits but this time for a firm who pays him! He was offered several tickets by his suppliers for various cycling events at the Olympics and chose the Friday when the big races took place. He loves his job!
Congratulations to Nicole Cooke who has just retired from a drug free career in cycling and paving the way for women cyclists.