As I write this column on the last day of May – a May of wonderfully mild weather – I am suddenly confronted with the reality of winter. Its cold!!† The time has arrived for buckets of hot soup, a hotwater bottle, fires and cozy scarves.
Pat and Colin will be returning soon from their time in Spain but have sent this small paragraph of special interest.
‘We learnt from our guide book that the priest of the town we were in, Triacastela (named after 3 castles that used to be in that area), took a pilgrim’s service for everybody regularly at 1800 hours. We duly walked along and realized that quite a crowd of pilgrims were gathering for the advertised mass. The Church was locked so we all waited outside in the hot Spanish evening but as time went on there was no sign of the priest.
Among the crowd of 40 or 50 was a group of young Americans led by a slightly older priest who took it upon himself to produce a table and the elements, he then proceeded to take a mass outdoors in English. Eventually the town priest arrived, walked through the crowd into the Church without saying a word.
It was a simple but meaningful service with the casually dressed crowd repeating the responses, some kneeling on the grass. We left feeling we had experienced something very special.
From Andrea.† In mid-May Tim and I flew down to Wellington with Tess, leaving James and Emily home alone for the first time. Tess was collected at the airport by a Ranger friend while Tim and I caught a taxi into town to find our hotel. We were able to enjoy a night out ‘on the town’ without kids to celebrate our anniversary! The next morning we met Tess as she got off the cable car then took her out for breakfast. We spent a couple of hours at Te Papa viewing the wonderful Gallipoli exhibit before heading back to the hotel to get ‘glammed up’ for our trip to Government House. Here Tess joined about 30 other Rangers who were awarded the highest order in Girl Guiding, the Queen’s Guide Award. It was a very special occasion, we have the official photos to show for it, then of course we had to have dinner out to celebrate. On Sunday Tess joined her Guiding friends for breakfast while Tim and I enjoyed the Art Gallery down by the waterfront. We were delighted to get home to two kids who’d enjoyed their time without parents and to a house which Emily had vacuumed and tidied for our return home. We might even do it again sometime…………………
From Yvonne.† My son and daughter-in-law, Neil and Naoko, are visiting their daughter Wakana in Lucena, southern Spain. Neil has waxed lyrical about the landscape, ‘The countryside in this area is stunning – huge open vistas rivaling South Island landscapes; craggy bare mountains of grey rock jutting up with rolling countryside in between – not continually up and down like NZ but long, steady, slow gradients rising and falling, ridges steadily cutting a line as far as you can see. The space filled with Olive trees everywhere except for fields of hay, cut at the moment, the dry yellow contrasting with the dotted dark green olive and red soil underneath’.
From Jeanne. (Welcome back Jeanne, we are so pleased to have you back with us again.)
It was wonderful being back at St Aidans for the hymn service last Sunday after ten months in Canada. My niece (15) and nephew (13) have become very independent and strong after their mum passed away in September last year. I am confident that they are now better able to come to terms with their grief and solve most challenges that may arise. To be honest, those early months were much harder than I ever imagined it would be, but I have come back to NZ much wiser, more resilient, with lots of new friends. I want to thank Anette Hay from the bottom of my heart for organising a parcel from St Aidans. Annette went to great trouble to put together little bags, each containing an uplifting quote, personal message and a chocolate kiss from my friends at Church. I can hardly imagine the time and effort she put into collating that, but at the same time I need to ensure you that that parcel was the highlight in a very dark time. Annette’s instructions were to open one bag every day to get a virtual ‘hug’ from a St Aidan’s friend. I have to admit that on days I found particularly hard to cope, I allowed myself TWO hugs from the box!! I treasured each and every message and just after Christmas when all the hugs were used up, I made a scrapbook with the quotes and names – so I can be reminded forever of the generosity, love and support from all my dear St Aidans friends.
From Edith. Considering she has been teaching over 30 years, it was a special day in May when my youngest daughter Jill (55) graduated with a Bachelor of Education in the ceremony at Aotea Centre. Like many other families we celebrated with a special lunch and a neighbour’s party in the evening. Jill paid a vote of thanks to husband Rick for all the evenings during the winter when he made the dinner and watched TV by himself!!
The Writers Festival was an exciting place to be during May even if you only managed one day. Hundreds of enthusiasts lined up for the free sessions and the auditorium was almost full for the paid session in which author Paula Hawkins was interviewed on stage. She has written many books and is particularly well known for ‘Girl on a Train’. At the free session she was one of four authors who read a passage from their book – each one quite different, everybody listening intently. I realised what a treat it is to be read to, I just wanted them to keep going.
On a similar track, our local libraries often have evenings when authors talk about and read passages from their recent books. Recently at Glenfield library, Prof. Kerry Howe talked about his book ‘To the Islands’ exploring, remembering the Hauraki Gulf, meandering in a 50 yr. old wooden yacht, reflecting on his lifelong engagement with the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
Now for some gossip !!
Margaret K. has had 8 stitches in her foot due to having a skin cancer removed.
Avis has a new great granddaughter, her 4th. Ivy Anahera. Anahera is Maori for Angel.
Beverley has also had a new great grandchild, a boy who lives in Australia. She tells me she is expecting 2 more great grandchildren before September.
From Fleur. Granddaughter Sanja (4) sang with her dancing group.
‘Hey Good Lookin’, What you got cookin’, Howza bout cook’n something up for me”
She looked amazing in her little Tutu dress with a little pinafore over. Sanja remembered all the actions and steps.
Your prayers and support have been much appreciated, Annalie is in remission preparing for her next round of treatment.
Our prayers and best wishes go to Bruce as he prepares for surgery.
BIRTHDAYS for June.
Dalia. (1st),† Barbara W (4th)† Fiona (5th) Margaret K. (11th)† Barbora S (23rd)† Edmund. (28th) Janet C. Linda B. Gerald D. Shona R.
Alf & Fleur.
Quote. Music Ė a language other than paint that says the unsayable things inside you. – Sylvia Ashton Warner.