Japan & Antarctica

Yesterday Janice and Barbara talked to the Mothers’ Union about their recent visit to Japan, celebrating Janice’s significant birthday.

The previous week we presented some of our photos of Antarctica to the Womens’ Institute at Hartest.

The parish of Hadleigh, Suffolk recently commemorated the death of the rector Dr.Rowland Taylor who was burnt at the stake on 9th.February 1555 on the orders of Queen Mary Tudor.  A prominent protestant clergyman, chaplain to Thomas Cranmer, he was a devoted priest and well loved in Hadleigh, but fell foul of the reintroduction of Catholicism when Mary came to the throne.  This window in St.Mary’s church is one of his memorials.

Hadleigh Church Rowland Taylor window

The service was taken from the 1552 Second Prayer Book of Edward V1.  The exhortation used read thus:


There are two more memorials to Rowland Taylor on Aldham Common, (a short distance from our home) where he was executed. The early one was erected soon after his death, the larger one in 1818.

A Crabbit Old Woman

      This week we led worship at Felixstowe URC.  I read this meditation as part of the service.  Several people were moved by it and I was asked for a copy. 

A young nurse found this among the possessions

of an old woman who had recently died

       A Crabbit Old Woman

“What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

Are you thinking when you are looking at me—

A crabbit old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say with a loud voice— “I do wish you’d try”.

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,

And forever is losing a sock or a shoe,

Who, unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,

As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m  a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters who love one another,

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,

Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet;

A bride soon at twenty — my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;

At twenty-five now I have young of my own,

Who need me to build a secure happy home:

A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that will last:

At forty, my young sons have grown and have gone,

But my man’s still beside me to see I don’t mourn;

At fifty once more babies play round my knee,

Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look to the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel—

’Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart.

There is now a stone where I once had a heart;

But inside this old carcase a young girl still dwells,

And now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few — gone too fast,

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses, open and see

Not a crabbit old woman, look closer— see ME!



We stayed at the Cathedral Lodge for two nights over New Year. We attended Evensong each day, spent hours exploring the cathedral as well as shopping in town. On New Year’s Eve we attended the dinner dance in the lodge and enjoyed the town fireworks. Here is the life-size nativity in the grounds.

IMG_1232No photos were allowed during the services but here is the view in the choir after Evensong.

IMG_1225This Christmas tree could be seen from our bedroom window.

IMG_1233These are some glimpses of the New Year Dinner.

Exploring the magnificent cathedral on New Years Day.


Christmas Services

David led Midnight Mass at The Row and Christmas Morning service at Higham with a full church and many families. They enjoyed David’s donkey carol and the Twelve Days of Christmas was a riot, after the service.

The final service of 2018 at Stowmarket gathered up all the commemorations of the week, Stephen, Holy Innocents, Thomas a Becket and we covenanted together for the year ahead. David will be there again next week, another service with multiple features. They were suggesting he might be their new minister! It was lovely to have Chris in the congregation. They cannot move to Yorkshire yet as their house is not ready. Here are some pictures of Christmas at Stowmarket URC.

This was a very special day for David with a service commemorating his 50 years of ministry. It was the weekly Sunday morning service at St.Mary’s, a sung Eucharist, at which David both presided and preached.

He was delighted that three of his four children were present. Rachael will be over from the USA later in 2019. Dominic, Philip and Ruth all lit Advent candles and I did too. Dominic had to leave before the feast, as Carli was on stage in the Colchester pantomime. Tony could not be with us because of his severe back injury.

David was given a huge cake and a bring and share lunch was available for all.

David also put on a display of some of his eighty nativity scenes.

Celebration for Kelvin

David led this service for my dear friend Kelvin in a celebration largely designed by Maureen. There was participation by family and friends and I was greatly honoured to be invited to read this poem you can see below.