Saturday, 19 August 2017

Exam relief

The days have passed and it's all getting better now, but the anxiety levels in the house were skyrocketing as the day approached on which the YFG would find out her A level results. She went off to school at 0645 Thursday morning to open the envelope - and it felt like the envelope held so much more than just a piece of paper with some letters on it!

Turns out she's one bright girl - A* in Religious Studies, A in Geography and B in Politics.  She's blown the predictions out of the water and done so much better than she had even dared to hope. The place she was holding at Norwich would have been settled with lower grades, and now that she has the grades in the bag, so to speak, decisions have been made: she's going to reapply for autumn next year, and she can apply to more challenging universities this time around... because she knows what she has to offer.  So here we go again with some open day visits etc, but it'll be fun.......[I'm trying hard to convince myself of this, as this will be the third time!]

The job she has already secured for the holidays is hers to continue after some discussion there yesterday, and she will look for more work to supplement that as it is only 15 hours a week.

The EFG is here for another two weeks and then heads back northwards, I've some more dates booked with the chap from the Lakes, and lots of work to keep me busy. Life continues and we're all looking forward with anticipation - we're all September-lovers who rejoice in fresh beginnings in the autumn. There's a little chunk of me which is secretly quite chuffed to keep my baby at home for another year, but I do appreciate that it is only postponing the inevitable - but she will be saving hard, working hard and I hope enjoying herself as well in this intervening time.

Much love to you all - and I hope that those of you with folk awaiting results or had results are doing OK too xx

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

And here we are again!

I'm grateful to FC for the gentle nudge - blogging today from a cosy little cottage in Armathwaite in the Lake District. We're halfway between Penrith and Carlisle, and the cottage is tucked away from the road in a wee courtyard.  The girls came up on Friday and I arrived on Sunday after the morning service had been delivered.

I had a full day out with them and J [the FH's cousin's widow, whom we have brought with us] yesterday but the girls have gone to a wildlife park today whilst J and I are having a quieter day at home, so far, anyway!

Yesterday we went to Wray Castle, but Hill Top was packed out so we gave that a miss. Huge scones were scoffed in Keswick, and we had a mooch in a few shops there too.  The weather was very pleasant and the driving, although very different from the Fens, was a lovely experience - everything from the M6 to one-track roads with passing places, where we had an incident with a Stagecoach bus! We survived though ;)

I spent the evening with the chap - what a co-incidence that he lives only 9 miles from the cottage ;) We watched some athletics on the tv as he had taken his son to London to the Olympic Park last weekend to see some of the IAAF World Championships so there were heats that he had seen there that he wanted to see the relevant finals for - and it was tense for a couple of the races. We really thought Laura Muir might pull off the 1500 metres but she came in fourth, which seems heartbreaking but she did take it well.  The girls and I met his son the previous weekend and really enjoyed spending time with him: he seems like a very well-adjusted and lovely lad, very keen on being active and sporty, which might be a challenge for us, but he was witty and wry with it, and very realistic about some of the challenges of ministry - he has no fear in telling it like it is!

Hoping to nip over the border into Scotland tomorrow, pottering around in Carlisle and perhaps the cinema on Thursday and then home again on Friday.  The Yeti's going well and I am very happy with it. It drinks slightly more diesel than the Fabia did but that is to be expected, so I am not complaining.

Some challenges continue at work - we tried to appoint a Children's Worker to the circuit team but the candidates were not suitable, the Super's not terribly well, and the rest is in God's hands, as it always is. His constant presence upholds us in all that we do, and I am encouraged by looking back to see all the blessings in our lives, which then enable us to be stronger in our certainty that He will continue to support and bless us into the future. Quite what that future holds isn't as clear at this point, but I continue to appreciate your prayers and support.  The YFG's exam results are the next hurdle and we will be jumping that one next Thursday........

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Jaunts continue

What a month May has been here!  

I've taken a funeral for a fine man with a gracious and patient widow, and because they were URC members of one of our churches instead of Methodists, I have investigated and used the URC service book for that, which was appreciated. 

I've been on a long train trip to Durham for the day - the things we do for love!  A glorious day in which we walked about 9 miles up and down and round the city, went to a beautiful garden, attended Evensong at the cathedral and just enjoyed being together. 

Durham Cathedral in the glorious sunshine

We've closed our village chapel. The last service was well attended and joyful, and it was the right thing to do.

I've sprained my ankle and had some recovery time for that - good excuse to put my feet up for a couple of days. Still aching occasionally but wearing walking boots most of the time is supporting it and I'm doing everything normally again now.

I've bought a new-to-me car.  I stuck with the Skoda brand but I've got a Yeti this time..... Quite a change for me, and the FH would be turning in his grave if he was in one [still in the sideboard] because he called 4x4s "Chelsea tractors" and thought they were an affectation but I love it!  I appreciate being a bit higher on the road and I love all the features, and just feeling that bit more secure.  

The Yeti took me to Cumbria for the weekend to see my love, and it did very well. It was a joy to drive, but the roadworks on the A1 caused a lot of congestion so I came home through Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, and Nottinghamshire and did a lovely tour of the Midlands once I left the M6 at Jct 15. 

Pooley Bridge walk on Sunday after chapel at Penrith

A brief excursion over the border to Gretna and Longtown Sunday evening

We went to Ireby Festival on Saturday where Martyn Joseph was playing - it was brilliant to see him live.  They were handing out leaflets for other music festivals and we were given one for a festival in North Wales. I looked at it hard and wondered what had taken my eye, and then I realised it was in Trelawnyd Memorial Hall and I thought immediately of John Gray!

It was a lovely weekend, but the Premier Inn where I stayed was looking a wee bit tired so I might look at an alternative for next time.  There is another one about a mile away......

And the FH's beloved cousin has entered his last days now. His liver cancer has weakened him dramatically, and yesterday he had stopped responding at all when the carers moved him. He came home from hospital last Wednesday.  I shall have a funeral to do in June, I'm certain.  I promised him that I would do it for him, and we have it all planned so that he has peace about that. 

The EFG is home for the summer, and the YFG is beginning the battle with A levels, so lots of hard days ahead for her until the last one at the end of June. 

Much love to you all. 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Just a wave

Much news but no time!  Will be back soon.......

Have popped in to a couple of your blogs and trying to keep up with some of your news but failing miserably!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Holy, holy, holy

It's Holy Week and the pressure is on. I've got a service on Good Friday in the afternoon, but that's not such a big deal as I did one last year in a completely different area of the circuit so I am fairly hopeful that I can repeat it this year and no one who was there last year will be there to recognise the salient points. Just have to remember to borrow the wooden sword from my friend before she disappears off on holiday Thursday night.....

Easter Sunday on the other hand, is getting complicated: baptism, sacrament and Easter in an hour.....could be a challenge.  I had a visit to the baptism family last week and had a wee hold of the baby - so cute - only born in January!  So out of practice at holding babies am I that I said to the mother that I really needed a cuddle to see how it felt again. He is adorable. Just pray for me that he doesn't wail too much....

And the other question which occupies my thoughts at the moment.... what does one call a man who one is seeing at this age? "Boy"friend doesn't seem right.....suggestions welcome!  The YFG is amusing herself with her own suggestions which are not being taken too seriously. He was here for the day yesterday and we went for lunch with the girls and Grandad and MB: he passed muster, and since he shares Grandad and MB's love of football, they were well pleased with him. He had a tortuous journey home on the train but made it eventually, about three hours overdue.

Today I have accompanied a lady to the CAB in order to help and support her in sorting out benefits, and it has been eye-opening, but well worthwhile for us both. We also had a hilarious time at a Knit and Natter session which was just after the meeting. She's becoming a part of the church family and they are taking her under their wings and looking out for her nicely.

Wishing you all a very blessed Easter holiday season if I am not back again before then. Much love x

Friday, 31 March 2017

Another jolly trip.....

Back to Yorkshire again, to "An evening with Stuart Townend" at Boston Spa Methodist Church, as part of his latest tour.  This was a brilliant evening of worship, conversation and prayer, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  

(image from

I'm facing some fears in my life and doing things I hadn't done before: I hadn't ever driven that far on my very own before, as all our long journeys had always been done with the FH and even when I drove to Aberystwyth a few years ago, I had the EFG with me. So I bought a sat nav, had the car thoroughly checked over, and sailed forth. And got there. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to charge up the A1!

Then afterwards I had to stay in a B&B so that I could visit friends in Lincolnshire on Tuesday on the way home, and I realised that I had never stayed anywhere completely on  my own before either!  But that was fine too... 

We had a whole 9 hours together, the weather was fine and warm, and it was good to be together again. I'm enjoying this!!

In other news, the EFG passed her driving test second time around on Wednesday [huge hip hip hooray] and the society ball of which she has been one of the main organisers is on tonight, and from the photos I have seen, it is a great success. Clever girl!  She's coming home on Monday for three weeks and I am really looking forward to catching up with her properly, instead of snatched conversations here and there.

The FH's cousin who has liver cancer now has sepsis too, has been in hospital for a week but has now been discharged into a sort of "hospice at home" scenario, with a hospital bed in the sitting room, and carers. He is in his last days now, and very pleased to be spending them at home.  We saw him on Tuesday night, and will see him again next week once the EFG has arrived.

I'm taking some time out from work this week - having a sort of "reading week" where people think I am not at work and so I don't attend things, but I am going to be doing a lot of stuff at home - there is a lot of admin stuff to catch up with, and internet setting up, and employment stuff to work on for the new people we want to advertise for, and I just can't do all of that when I am in the full swing of work. So I shall not work the 35 hours and I will definitely have some "holiday" but I shall be pottering about on the computer as well, and then taking more holiday later in the year.  I have plans to repaint my en-suite ceiling and interesting stuff like that....

I have had an interesting conversation with the YFG this week about being money-saving in the midst of this new relationship which is demanding travel. She is keen that I do not become a spendthrift, partly because there would be less in the pot for her, I think ;) She was relieved that I could report to having socked away £500 this month, so I think I have put her fears to rest. For now. Until I tell her about the hotel room I have booked in Carlisle for the weekend at the end of May... but I have time to save for that between now and then!  

Sunday, 19 March 2017

York and stuff

York on Friday was lovely. We mooched around the Railway Museum, we pottered around in the Minster, we walked 7 miles altogether, enjoyed several cups of tea in various establishments, and a meal in a cosy little cafe, as well as a drink in a bar before the trains departed again. It was St Patrick's Day, of course, so the bars were busy in the evening and we poked our noses into a tent in the main street where there was an Irish Festival happening, and young girls were doing Irish dancing [which made me think of American friends with a passion for Irish dancing, CS!] and it was altogether a very good day.   Next week, we meet again in Yorkshire to go to a concert together, and then there is nothing yet in the diary until the end of May.  It's tricky - he works in ministry too, in another denomination, with a different day off......but as I reminded him yesterday, God's will finds a way, and if this is meant to work, it will.

The lady I told you about in the last post died last Sunday morning. It was a blessed relief for her as she was suffering very badly and in a great deal of pain.

You will be aware that I have been trusted with funerals for some time now.  I was so thrilled yesterday to be asked to take charge of a baptism on Easter Sunday at one of the churches where I have pastoral responsibility.  I had no idea that I could do a baptism, so that has come as a lovely bit of news: the child was due to be baptised next Sunday by the boss, but the child has come down with chickenpox so it is all to be postponed. The boss's diary and the family's did not align but they could make Easter Sunday when I will be there - so I shall be taking instructions most carefully at the next staff meeting!

And now I must away to fight to find all the financial information which is required for my part of the girls' Student Finance England applications - deep joy!  But I have a new series of Vera on ITV tonight which I shall look forward to watching - I do love Northumberland and Brenda Blethyn.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Catching up

Back into this space again.

There's a family in the street where the Grandad was the FH's best pal, and I buried him in October. Grandad's daughter's husband's mother is dying now.......right now. The family are gathering, visiting her, coming close to share in the last hours. She is being kept pain free, and the medical team are doing wonders to support the family in the need to keep her at home, where she wants to be. She's scared, afraid of what will happen to her.  I'm popping in and out, supporting the rest of the family, doing what I can, and praying for them all.

And then there's another family some miles away. The chap was another of the FH's best mates, his cousin, and he's slowly slipping away from us, as liver cancer weakens him. He has asked me to take his funeral, and we have prepared it together so that it is ready when the time comes. That has brought him peace. This lovely man is the YFG's godfather, and so she is significantly upset about it all, not only that he is suffering, but that she will lose another connection to her father.  That's hard for her.

Work continues well for me.  I've been made a Lay Pastor with pastoral responsibility for two of the churches, which is very exciting, and I am really pleased with the opportunity.  Personally, today has been interesting......being in a developing relationship with a Scottish bloke who lives in Carlisle has been difficult when England has thrashed Scotland in the Six Nations today and an East Anglian team, Cambridge, have given Carlisle a beating in the footie....... Best not to talk about that, and move on!  We're having a day in York on Friday so looking forward to that.  Don't think we'll be talking about football and rugby ;)

Sermon tomorrow is about risk taking, so I'm using the managers of Lincoln City as an illustration - giving up secure jobs in education to go and manage a football team takes quite a leap of faith. Would have been wonderful if Lincoln had managed to beat Arsenal today but I think that would have been expecting too much!

Have a good weekend.....

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


In the quietness of this space, it seems right to share with you, friends, the news that I am beginning to gently explore a new relationship.  It is new and fragile and precious, and I am not sharing it widely in the real world, as I seek to protect it and hold it close, but here I know that it will be held in prayer, and I thank you for that.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Driving news

The worst happened......the YFG passed [which IS good] but the EFG failed :(

The YFG did extremely well to pass with only one minor, but the EFG had a catastrophe at a junction: the lights changed and she did not know that she had to move forward to trigger a sensor which would change the filter light to stop the opposing traffic so that her lane of traffic could move forward.  Because she didn't move, the lights went through the cycle back to red and she held up the whole lane - so that caused the fail.  She'll do it again, and should be fine. Apparently she executed an immaculate three point turn.

The YFG has been out on her first solo drive - she went and did the grocery shopping yesterday morning whilst I was at work. She's on half term so she thought she would get that nerve wracking first trip over and done with. She's out in the village tonight at her best friend's house having a takeaway but I think she should be home soon.

Thank you for continuing to read. Lovely to read all the comments on the last post.

Monday, 6 February 2017

February already!

Jackie has given me a nudge to come back to this space this morning, so I am here to say "Hello, and wow, where did January go?!"

We're up to our eyes in work, revision for mocks for A levels, and driving tests for both girls this week in Peterborough (YFG) and Aberdeen (EFG) - I am just hoping that they both get the same result, whatever it is, as the tension will be huge if one passes and one fails!

I am buying the odd bunch of daffs to cheer the desk and remind me that Spring is on its way, but on dark and cold mornings when I struggle to get out of bed, it still seems a while away - but the occasional glimpse of the sun gives me hope!

This morning, I am waiting for a grocery shop to be delivered, then I am off to work later in the morning.  We are asked to only work two sessions a day, so it is the afternoon and evening for me today.  It is a sensible rule, but one to which I struggle to adhere some weeks - when I have to attend meetings which are arranged by others, I have to go whenever they are, and that makes the diary a challenge occasionally.  We get round this by counting the days we work three sessions and then having an extra day off now and again when they have mounted up.....the trouble was that when I counted the days in January and looked for a day I could take off - and the soonest one I could find free was mid March.  I have got leave booked more regularly so I am not being worked too hard.

The role continues to change and be developed - the latest incarnation of it to be suggested is that I take pastoral charge of two of the churches in the circuit. Discussions have been had and it will be brought to the circuit meeting for decisions on 1st March; it is an exciting development and I shall be thrilled if it is accepted, as they are two congregations of which I am particularly fond, and it will mean working more closely with both of them.

It's also been a season of reconnecting - I've picked up a couple of new "friends" from Facebook, who actually were not new but very old!  A friend from uni appeared in my Facebook feed as he had been involved in a partnership between with the Church of Scotland and the Methodist church, so I sent a quick message to say how delighted I was to see the two denominations working together and to send a word of encouragement - and now the emails have been flying between north and south as we catch up on the twenty two years since St Andrews!  It has also been great to share news of other fellow students as he has kept up with different ones from those with which I have been in contact.

I'm very much enjoying and being challenged by Ann Voskamp's "The Broken Way" book and study online and would recommend them hugely to those of you interested in a little introspection and personal growth. As her book on gratitude impacted on me so much, I think that this one will also be life-changing but in a different way.

Better go - shopping has just arrived!  Love to you all and thanks for your patience!!