Here today…

Here today and gone tomorrow! How things change.

One day last week I filled the car at our local petrol station. It’s a Total, so the petrol is relatively cheap (if you can say such a thing about petrol) roughly the same price as Tesco. Of course, you don’t get Tesco clubcard points there, but the fact that you don’t have to wait for hours in a huge queue, more than compensates.

Imagine my distress when, as I was driving past the very next day, I noticed that the petrol station was closed. Barriers across all the entrances, and heavy machinery already uprooting the pumps. I suppose it was always on the cards, as the accompanying Little Chef closed months ago, but I hadn’t expected it, not a word was said the previous day and I hadn’t even heard about it on the jungle telegraph.

However, it seems the petrol station will re-open, when it has somehow mysteriously metamorphosed into Shell (more expensive, no clubcard points, not even Nectar points.) Rumour has it that the Little Chef will also re-open, with a botox facelift magically identifying it as MacDonalds, although how that will encourage more customers is anybody’s guess. Just outside Norwich, and only half an hour or so from Yarmouth, it just doesn’t seem to be in the right place to catch casual custom making for the beach.

Is it my age that gives me a pang when I regret these changes, or is it the probable hit on my wallet? OK, I don’t care what sort of petrol I buy, but I do like to find the cheapest possible, I do like it to be local, and I don’t like queuing.

I think that says it all.

How strange!

How strange! Yesterday we awoke to bright sunshine and birds singing, today we’re back to the dreary downpour which depressed us all (apart from gardeners, farmers, all horticulturists, and those who realise we need rain because we like to eat from time to time) throughout April.

Actually, yesterday’s bright sunshine was the second time we awoke. The first time – just before 5.00am – was to hear the rain indoors. We had a flood in the kitchen which seemed to be coming from the washing machine (and no, we hadn’t left it on at night, nor any other appliances) in the most awkward spot imaginable.

The washing machine has been in its slot for so long that it seemed to be stuck to the floor, it was that difficult to shift. We managed eventually, only to discover that the flood was nothing to do with the washing machine but coming from some invisible place, and impossible to reach because hidden behind an inaccessible cupboard.

After a brief panic when neither of us could remember where the relevant tap was, Ian located it in the bathroom and turned off the water. I got busy with a mop and bucket and cleared the floor.

Then we went back to bed.

The second time we awoke to bright sunshine and singing birds, called the plumber who advertised in the church magazine, discovered he lived about five minutes away and would be with us directly.

He was.

He found the problem (something had broken on the in-pipe – or something like that), replaced the faulty piece, soldered something onto something else for good measure, and was done and dusted within the hour. Magic!

It left us free to enjoy the rest of the day, so we went visiting. There’s nothing better than visiting old friends you haven’t seen for a year or so. We had a lovely afternoon drinking tea and chatting over old times with one friend, then dropped in on another who was living in the vicinity and was surprised (but I hope, pleased) to see us.

Today, since the rain has stopped while I’ve been writing, we’re off to Norwich on the bus and are going to treat ourselves to lunch at Prezzo. And as we’re retired with nothing better to do, we may take in a film as well.

It’s not bad, this life of ours.

Thank you, Tim

My thanks to my publisher, Tim Runk of CSS Publications, (who also produces and manages my website which spawns this blog) for the publication of Volume Two of Children’s Stories From The Village Shepherd. I hope you will be as impressed as I am by the cover picture, which clearly links to Volume One but is easily differentiated.

Photobucket You can read the first few stories online by clicking here and following the links in the left hand column.

As in Volume One, each story is based on a particular gospel reading but is set in modern life or in the fantasy world of talking animals, fairies and pixies.

Originally written with All-Age Worship and Family Services in mind, the stories can be enjoyed by adults as well as children. This volume relates to year C – Luke’s gospel – of the Revised Common Lectionary used by mainstream churches.

I do hope you enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed writing them – and do keep looking out for Volume Three (year A, Matthew’s gospel) – to be published in due course.

How things change

As a child, I can remember being astonished when we returned from a holiday and my parents sighed, saying, “Isn’t it lovely to be home again!” I thought it was anything but lovely. I would have much preferred to be still playing in the sand, or swimming in the sea, or walking in the country.

That was then. This is now. And now I’m sighing with relief and saying, “Isn’t it lovely to be home again!”

We had a great time in Lanzarote with our good friends, G&T, covering most of the island during our time there. The Grand Tour was a brilliant day out, taking us to the geo-thermal fire mountains in the National Park,Photobucket the stunningly beautiful Jamios Del Agua cave area,Photobucket the valley of palms, and the camel safari. And no, I did not ride a camel, merely took pictures of others.Uploaded by Photobucket Mobile for BlackBerry

We managed a lot of walking during the fortnight, so it really has been a kind of final rehabilitation for Ian, who has now signed up to play golf later this month.

Our youngest daughter (the one who lives in Belgium) was in residence upon our return home, so the homecoming was doubly welcome, and we had a fairly big family party last Saturday, which was exhausting but good.

Now the preparations are well in hand for Easter. I took a service on Sunday morning, have a service on Maundy Thursday evening (but playing golf in the morning) and have two services on Easter Day. Oh, and another family get-together on Saturday.

All in all, a great time, terrific to be home, but kind of looking forward to a return to normality.

P.S. A bit of good news – I should receive copies of my second volume of Children’s Stories any day now – thank you, Tim.

Final rehabilitation

Ian and I are off to Lanzarote tomorrow, for his final little piece of rehabilitation prior to rejoining the real world – i.e. the golf course. We both hope he’ll feel fit enough to play again when we return, especially as England should have warmed up nicely by then. That’s my excuse for a great holiday, anyway. We hope to get in plenty of walking as well as seeing the sights and generally lazing around. Personally I can’t wait to feel the sun on my back and to see that luscious blue water just urging me to jump in.

Naturally I’m taking my gorgeous Blackberry Playbook, so I’m going to try to blog now and again hopefully with some photos, if I can find any free broadband. Not sure how wired Lanzarote is, since I suspect sun, sea and sand are more to the point over there. They will be for us, anyway.

We’re going with friends, packs of cards and the gin and tonic, so life should be fun. When we return, I really will get down to writing again. Honestly.

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