#407: appreciate the oak tree while it is there

Bertie here, back with a bumper crop of announcements and notices and news. So much happening, so much to look forward to. I am so pleased that I came home and didn’t accept any of the many offers I had to move to Oman for a modelling career. Although it is a bit colder here than there, overall…

Cracker Q: When is Christmas dinner bad for your health?

Key News and Events

There is a full article on the website, and the local press are covering it- we’re pleased and relieved to announce that the dangerous oak tree in the churchyard is going to be cut down to about 4m in height on the 27th and 28th of December. It is the best possible dates to do it, while the Schools are off and when lots of people are off work. There will be some local disruption but pedestrians will still be able to pass up and down the road on the side next to the Holt School, and foot access to the church will be fine. If you hear anyone talking about it in the next fortnight can you tell them what is happening and why? Thanks. We have about half of the cost now donated to us or in grants, which is great- we are looking at a total cost, we think, of just under £17,000 which is a lot of money but less than we feared at one point.

This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Advent– with a focus on John the Baptist- services at 9.30, 10, 11 and then 6.15pm in the evening with Nine Lessons and Carols, which is always one of the absolute highlights of the year. Do come along and do bring friends and neighbours- and then do stay for drinks afterwards in the Parish Rooms.

Here is the list of Christmas Services in case you have misplaced them- please remember that there are lots of services to come to, but don’t come to the 8am at St Paul’s or the 11am at St Nick’s on Christmas Eve because you will be quite lonely. Because they are not happening.

Also, on Sunday, look out for small books of reflections for the 12 Days of Christmas at the back of Church- pay £2 for 2 and buy one for someone else who would enjoy it- and if you do that, do chat to them about what they find and what they think. Some info is here… but we have ordered them already so you don’t need to order your own…

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And here is the missing photo from last week’s Tithings report– part 2 was a pub trip near The Vyne. Purely so everyone could warm up. No other reason. Thanks to David Ruddock for sending it it, and do keep your meeting reports coming.

Other Notes and Queries

There is a meeting TOMORROW on energy advice… in Gorse Ride…

Christingle Making on Sat the 23rd from 10am in the Parish Rooms- do come along for what is always a fun time and a productive one.

There won’t be Morning Prayer in the week which begins on Christmas Day- or on New Year’s Day. And Coffee and Chat are taking a well-deserved break on the 29th of December.

We are currently 4 out of 6 School Carol Concerts through- 4 Schools (2 Secondary and 2 Juniors) have been into Church to celebrate Christmas together. It has been and will continue to be a joyous thing to be able to offer and a great opportunity to help people feel as if it is their building and their home. Huge thanks to Louise and Sunny especially for all they have done to make everything go smoothly- and to everyone else who has helped in any way.

And here is the latest letter from our friends in Madagascar who are not actually in Madagascar at the moment as you will discover… Our Mad Life 91  A series of unfortunate events

Dear Friends,

I cannot resist this title as I am a fan of Lemony Snicket although happily the events have taken a decided turn for the better.

We have had quite an eventful few weeks since Hall’s unanticipated arrival home ahead of his final confirmations, due to expected political disturbances around the Presidential elections in Madagascar.  The current president so far seems to have managed to suppress all opposition very successfully.

A visit to Hall’s sister in N. Ireland also brought an unanticipated event when I was admitted to hospital in Derry with what was diagnosed as an unprovoked double pulmonary embolism. I understand that to mean that why or when it started cannot be ascertained.  Thanks to the marvels of modern treatment I was discharged a week later with a prescription for life.

Thank you, Anne, for looking after Hall and me for an extended period, and Rosemary for a restorative weekend in Co. Mayo.

I am, as you can imagine, very thankful to still be around, that Hall was not in Madagascar at the time, and that I also was not in Madagascar as originally planned.

Hall is in close contact by phone and zoom etc with his flock in Mahajanga, continuing with the building projects. It may be just as well that he and the flock have a bit more time to adjust to his delayed retirement.  He plans to go out for a final few weeks in February.

While in N. Ireland I had the pleasure of meeting one of our readers who referred to me as “the Lady of the Letters”.  I do rather like that.  You are certainly getting one on this occasion.

Thank you for all the prayers offered by those who heard that I was ill.  As an inarticulate pray-er myself I find that the General Thanksgiving covers everything.  I can assure you that I am now feeling on top of the world and (cautiously) resuming normal life.

Hall joins me in sending all of you our love and best wishes for a holy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you so desire.


Cracker Ans: If you’re a turkey.

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