Well a strange old time we are in, just as we were getting back into our monthly service routine and a couple of midweek Services of Compline, bang! back into lockdown we go. As I write we are in early November and the Church sadly needs to stay closed apart from visits to turn the floodlights on and off. Hopefully you will have seen and appreciated the Poppy projection on the Tower. We are really grateful to the Mardler, the Parish Council and a couple of benefactors in the village who have provided the funds for us to hire the projector. As we move into this festive time of year the Poppy gives us pause to remember those lost in conflict over the years and those families for whom Christmas would never be the same.
Really delighted how well Remembrance Sunday at the Pump turned out, clearly quite amazing how many of the Village happened to be out and about when a couple of us marked the occasion. A big thank you to Jo for the poppies in the grass which together with the wreath did look lovely.
I think that Christmas may be very different for many of us this year as we cope with the restrictions imposed by COVID. I have no doubt that since as a nation we always rise to any challenge we will all gather somehow to mark this special time of year. As normal we will have the star on the Church Porch together with the Christmas Tree. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that we will be allowed to have a traditional Christmas Carol Service in the Church but are hoping to have a festive Evening Service early in December if the regulations allow.
A big thank you for all those who have had the lights on celebrating or remembering over the recent months, it is so lovely to see the church alight. It costs just £5 a night and the money goes straight into our Maintenance Fund from which we draw frequently in the upkeep of this Grade 1 listed 900 year old Church. If you would like the lights please contact Sue Williams on 07855414941. Payment will be needed before the night if you could please.
What a very strange summer which has impacted us in so many ways. All Saints like all Churches was required by law to close in March , and only now are we beginning to see our small congregation hold services albeit with certain restrictions such as face masks and no singing. We would love to be able to open fully but current legislation has put the brakes on. One thing that I have learnt over that past few months is patience: what will happen will happen in its own good time and when it is safe to do so. However, we are now open and holding the monthly services on the second Sunday of each month as usual – bring a flask and have an outside catch up and cup of coffee after the service, weather permitting. Also, the monthly Compline services, usually alternated with Billingford, have been held at All Saints until the church at Billingford opens up again.
One thing that has done well this year has been the garden and for us the allotment with all manner of things needing a bit of extra TLC when water was not forthcoming from the heavens. That lack of water has also impacted on the wildflower population in the Churchyard particularly that very dry Spring. Mind you the normal residents of whatever flowers they are did make an appearance although not in as great a number as normal. Shortly we will be getting in the guys to cut and manage the wildflower areas with my good old trusty Scythe having done its bit too. Due to the restrictions on access to the Churchyard we have reduced the amount we normally cut and it has been lovely to see the huge variety of bugs of all shapes and sizes that now enjoy the longer grass.
The Swifts as always were very active in Thorpe Abbotts where the older properties provide both the height and nesting spots they need, often the roof edges which means that the birds crash land into the gutter then clamber on under the roof. Often these spots are favoured by the Sparrows who of course nest prior to the Swift’s arrival in May. This happened with one of my Swift Boxes and it was interesting to watch the Sparrow’s eviction by the Swift with the ex-resident sitting close by waiting to try and reoccupy. I didn’t see any house martins nesting in the village this year. I am told that the weather in the spring with the wind having a predominately northly set prevented many from completing their spring migration which will have reduced the numbers in the UK. My martin box got taken over the sparrows in any case! I will shortly be taking down my Swift boxes for cleaning so it will be interesting to see how many have been used.
A big thank you for all those who have had the lights on celebrating or remembering over the recent months it is so lovely to see the church alight. It costs just £5 a night and the money goes straight into our Maintenance Fund from which we draw frequently in the upkeep of this Grade 1 listed 900 year old Church. If you would like the lights on please contact Sue Williams on 07855414941. Payment will be needed before the night if you could please.
Having just published the March bit for th Village magazine it show just what an impact on Church activities the current situation has had. As will many many public places All Saints has closed until some time in the future, hopefully that will not be too long.
The Church has stood on this spot at least since Domesday 1087 and will will have seen many things both joyous and frightening. This is of course not the first time this country has been struck, remember the plague which absolutely devastated the country. No matter how bad that impact was we as a country came through it. Staying at home and local distancing is the best way to help defeat this virus. In the 13th Century they did not understand what was happening, we do today and have the tools to cope let’s facilitate the use off those tools…primarily our outstanding NHS which has in the past has been unfairly criticised. Now we all understand how blessed we are with a comprehensive healthcare system staffed by exceptional people.
We can do without mangetout and avocado pears and other such luxuries and so what if you are running short of wine, enjoy each others company, we will come out of this and before you know it Churches will again be open to welcome you all.
Well what a wert wet wet yet more wet month we have had but glad we have now settled to normal Spring weather which means we get most things most weeks. Thank you all of you who came to a very fun Quiz at the end of January, delighted that both the winner’s prize and wooden spoon stayed in the Village, the first time this has happened for a while.
February’s Church Service was a little different. Just as we started the electricity stopped!! which also I seem to remember effected the whole village. Well what to do as the manual pump on the organ has not worked for years? We came up with a solution….. something a little different with David our organist humming the first few lines to give us start. All went very well all be it a little cold as of course the heating was off too.
MESSY CHURCH 4th APRIL Coming up we are putting on a Messy Church on a rainbow theme in the Village Hall on Saturday April 4th 10.30-12.00. Children under the age of 13 are invited to come and join us for a bit of fun. All children need to be accompanied by an adult so it will be nice to gather for all age groups and so allowing a bit of a catch up. Entry is of course free, if you would like anymore details please contact Mary Alderton on 01379 668537.
EASTER Easter is just around the corner following on from our Messy Church. We will have short Evening Devotional Service on Holy Tuesday at 6.30pm and then a devotional ½ hr on Good Friday at 2.00pm. On Easter Day we plan to have a family Communion Service at 9.30am with Lynda Mansfield and Rev. Sue Auckland
CHURCHYARD As I write the church yard is ablaze with Aconites and Snowdrops particularly around the north side. Daffodils are making an appearance before our Meadow Saxifrage making their annual appearance in May/June. June is a very good time to have a wander around the church yard which you will know is managed for its wildflower population. Every year I am surprised by the appearance or even non appearance of various flower species there. Please do feel free to pop up there, many of our wildflower species are in decline and church yards often havens of which All Saints is a very good example. Additionally the church will be open at weekends and Bank Holidays after Easter. Some peeps think that just because the Church gates are closed means that you cannot go in, nothing could be further from the truth, these gates whilst physically together are never closed to those who wish to enter, a gentle push is all it needs.
CHURCH LIGHTS. A big thank you for all those who have had the lights on celebrating or remembering over the recent months it is so lovely to see the church alight. It costs just £5 a night and the money goes straight into our Maintenance Fund from which we draw frequently in the upkeep of this Grade 1 listed 900 year old Church. If you would like the lights on please contact Sue Williams on 07855414941. Payment will be needed before the night if you could please.
We had a lovely service on Sunday with a well filled church in good voice singing our favourite carols and enjoying the readings by the youngsters who did really well. Many Mince Pies and Stollen Cake consumed as we caught up, delighted to say that the Mulled wine proved very popular indeed too!! Thank you Tim and Lynda for a lovely service and the team who decorated the Church.