It's been a very quiet week for me, so I will not detain you long today. I imagine that all is ready now for the Winter Fayre today and I hope that really goes well. Looking out of my window here, the frost certainly makes it look quite wintery. From all that I have heard the Christmas Lunch last week went wonderfully well. An amazing achievement, I think, to seat so many people for lunch. Really well done to Lindsay and Jill and to everyone who helped.
I was very pleased to see that the Queen of Caldecote was in attendance 🙄
Following on from last week, Judy sent me this amazing photo of a work of art produced by one of the students at Lemlem school.
This depicts traditional Ethiopian Cooking. The painting is done with the barest of resources, many of which they have to create themselves. Truly astonishing.
I did manage to brave the cold and get our during the week for a walk at Poppy Hill. One of the laces on my walking boots snapped, which made the journey rather precarious, given how slippery it was everywhere, but my heroism in continuing was rewarded when I came across a pair of Goosander on one of the fishing lakes.
They were coping with the cold much better than I was. Sigh.
Stay safe and well everyone.
I want to devote most of this today to something really lovely and so important which reflects so well on All Saints and says so much about our Church. Before that however just a few bits and pieces. I hear that Brian's (Sigh) introduction to his reading last Sunday went well and you were still able to get home before lunchtime. Amazing 😒 Do not miss the Christmas Lunch tomorrow nor the Winter Fayre next Saturday. Both are guaranteed to be brilliant events. Details are on the Latest News page. Also quite wonderful is that All Saints raised £117 for Children In Need last Sunday. Truly fabulous. You've got to love Pudsey 😊
The rest of today's offering comes from Judy.
I've been going out to Ethiopia, sometimes twice a year, for 6 years now, but this was the first time since their civil war ended. I saw for myself the distress and devastation caused. The northern region of Tigray was very badly affected - I saw so many young men with missing limbs. Many families have experienced bereavement and whilst I was there, the government issued an official list of names - thousands of names of those killed during the conflict. The family I stay with found out three of their relatives had died.
I also visited a refugee camp for 'Internally Displaced Persons' - Ethiopians who had lost their homes. It was a sobering experience, and brought home to me the futility of war. Even the capital, Addis Ababa, wasn't immune and Lemlem School which I support was closed for over a year. The computers that my husband Russ installed for them (thanks to a generous donation from a company in Flitwick) had been looted. So they have to start again. And yet, despite the traumas that the Ethiopian people have been through, I was reminded again and again of their resilience, and how their deep and abiding faith helps them through. They will give you all they have, without seeking reward or recognition.
The main religion is Orthodox Christian, and the churches are filled to capacity, not only on Sundays, but on Saints Days too. The homeless, the ill, the needy all sit near the church, knowing they will receive help from others. No judgement, no 'passsing by on the other side. A lesson for us all.
On a brighter note, thanks to generous donations, I was able to give the school £650, raised in 48 hours, to buy school uniforms for children whose families can't afford them. And from donations from generous folk at All Saints, a young man (who lost his father last year) can continue his education, as his school fees will be paid in full for a year.
I took out lots of games donated too, and they had great fun learning and playing snakes and ladders. The children may be poor, but they are cheerful, hardworking, and they love being at school.
Thank you to everyone for your support, both emotional and practical. It means a huge amount to me, and to the people of Ethiopia.
It's truly wonderful what Judy does as is the support that she receives from many places, not least All Saints. She has sent me lots of photos and I hope to share a few more with you over the following weeks.
Stay well and safe everyone.
Thinking back over the many Remembrance Services I have attended on Ickwell Green over the years, I really don't think that I can remember one that was quite so wet. This, however, did not spoil it in any way and it was lovely to be able to share with you all this very special and important day. Our customary two wreaths were laid at the war memorial.
A solemn and moving occasion. Later in the week one of our younger members came to pay her respects to the fallen.
I was asked to record for posterity some words of wisdom from our Churchwarden Emeritus Alison on the subject of Remembrance and am happy to do so.
"Did you know that if you put the new eco-friendly poppy in the washing machine it disappears completely?"
Who'd have guessed. Sigh. 🙄 With these words of wisdom our lives have been immeasurably enhanced.
During the week I had a visitor. Joanne returned to her former patch from the wilds of Lincolnshire and called in to see me.
Joanne was well known to the Wednesday morning crowd and to others who came to Lent Courses and Benefice Services. She was amazed that I was able to provide some milk to make her a cup of tea without Alison's help and she asked to be remembered to you all.
I was very pleased to see that this website passed the 16,000 visits during the week. I remember so well discussing the idea of having a website with the PCC as something to mark our 150th Anniversary Celebrations and the important part it played in being able to connect with people during the Pandemic and how grateful people were for it. It does cause me some problems, like it has again this morning, which is why this is so late going up 😡, but it is certainly worth the effort even if it doesn't feel like it today. Groan.
Stay well and safe everyone
I've just had to delete a photo of Kevin Keegan from this website. Sob. This is the price I pay for looking after things here.
I'm sure that you are all doing as I am doing today and praying that all will be well in London and elsewhere in our country on Armistice Day.
The Parish Photographer has kindly sent me a few photos and I note that Sparklers were the order of the day at the All Souls Service last Sunday. Wow. I hear it all went really well and and I'm sure that the Sparklers added something special to the service.
I imagine that the perpetrators of this idea are pictured in the following one. Sigh.
Anyway very good to know that this important day was held so wonderfully well. Tomorrow, of course, there will not be a service at Church as we will be gathering on Ickwell Green for the Remembrance Service. I hope to see you there.
Here at my Retirement Chateau, I had a rather sinister visitor to the garden during the week. I don't mean Brian, although he did drop by on Friday morning. Ok make that two sinister visitors, but only one of them is worthy of a photograph.
Having seen this extremely unwelcome apparition, I can't get the "Black Rabbit of Death" from "Watership Down"out of my mind. In the book the Black Rabbit is a harbinger of doom and something terrible happens when it appears. And sure enough...
On Monday morning I was out for a lovely walk in the sunshine and on my return I found I had a flooded Utility Room and Conservatory. Water was pouring out of a badly finished joint in a pipe to the outside tap. Thankfully I have a very friendly and competent plumber, whom I can call in such an emergency. He told me how to turn the water supply off - who knew - and within a couple of hours he had come out and another hour later he had fixed the problem. I blame the squirrel.
Stay well and safe everyone.
Just to let you know that all the posts on here for October will be deleted next week (if I remember) to try to keep the website healthy. If you want to check back on anything I've written over the past few weeks, you only have a few days to do so.
It was good to see a few of you briefly on Thursday morning and to sample one of Pam's lovely star biscuits. Great to celebrate All Saints Day - the church's Patronal Festival. The biscuits were particularly appropriate, as they reminded me of the hymn "Who are these like stars appearing" which is about the Saints and which we always sung on All Saints Day.
My main news of the week was that I had to travel north to Yorkshire where most of my few surviving relatives live. I have a very poorly and ancient Auntie and it was good to see her, even though things didn't go smoothly. My plan was to go on Wednesday by train but this was derailed (sorry, couldn't resist) by signals failure at Finsbury Park. Sigh. Having walked to Biggleswade station I hung around for a while hoping that things would become clearer, but no one really had any information except that trains were stacked up in London and the earlier train to Peterborough still hadn't arrived. Because of the potential complications with connections, I gave up in the end and walked back to the Chateau. This led me to drive up on Thursday. Thankfully the terrible weather that some parts of the country experienced didn't affect my journeys too much, so I think I was very fortunate.
Next Sunday I hope to join you for the Remembrance Service on Ickwell Green. The Tall Churchwarden sent the following photograph of the cross outside church, put up in preparation for what is always a very special day.
Looks wonderful doesn't it?
Stay well and safe everyone.