Prestbury Parish Magazine
1. Preheat oven to 170C (gas mark 3). Grease and line a 20cm/8in cake
Sponsored Cycle Ride 2001
The cycle ride this year was on a pleasant sunny afternoon, and I had been challenged to visit some high churches. I was not sure if that was a theological or altitudinal challenge, but decided to visit Churchdown with its church on top of the hill. My route took me past the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas More in Princess Elizabeth Way, GCHQ and then into the quiet of the old Gloucester road. My thoughts turned to the previous travellers of that road.
The curves take you along the contours past farms and hamlets, with turns down over streams onto the next line before being interrupted by a detour round Staverton airport that probably shifted the old route. Not far from Fiddlers Green and Hayden lanes is a pub, The Pheasant, and lay-by for Stagecoach buses with a flower-filled drinking trough half buried in the hedge. How many feet had walked that road, quenched their thirst at the inn before travelling on the seven miles to Gloucester? Perhaps they were on horseback, in a phaeton or waited to catch the post chaise or flyer that went that way before the railway?
I was put in mind of Rev'd Witts' Diary of a Cotswold Parson, in which he describes journeys from his Upper Slaughter Vicarage including trips to Gloucester assizes where he was a JP. On April 28th 1827 he was returning from there, and 'as we went towards Cheltenham, we marvelled at the crowds of people of the lower order trudging on towards Gloucester, with great eagerness, young and middle aged and many females. We knew not of any Fair or race or merry meeting: at last the truth flashed on my recollection, all these people were hurrying to witness the execution of the wretched brothers Dyer who are to expiate their crimes this morning by their deaths.' How many of those peasants had gathered at the inn before setting off together? After 200 years we remain fascinated by the macabre and today it is not far round the world to find spiritual leaders trying to interpret human frailty and religious principles with the same penalty.
The water trough resulted in other enquiries about its inscription: 'In remembrance of Leslie Gordon Young this trough provided at his request is placed here by the Cheltenham Branch of The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.' Who was this local worthy and when did 'The Royal Society' form? An enquiry to the Cheltenham Registrar confirmed that a 22-year-old man of that name died on 25th October 1908 at St Ronans, U.D. from 'Tubercular disease of the kidney and bladder causing uraemia'. He was a man of independent means and his brother, who was present at the death, came from Thornton Hall, near Pickering, Yorkshire. I have not yet received a reply from the archivist of the Cheltenham RSPCA, but that might form the basis for another article!
Thank you to all our cyclists and to all who sponsored them. The total we raised is over £530, half of which goes to our two churches and the other half to the Trust.
She has arrived! Well, we all knew that we were bound to have another girl. And so, Isabelle Elisabeth came into our lives on the 6th October, a tiny (5lb 11oz) but perfect little thing. We are all thrilled, well now at least. When Paul told Alice on the 'phone she apparently stuck her bottom lip out, declared that 'It's not fair, I wanted a little brother', and proceeded to sulk for half an hour. Since meeting their little sister though, they have fallen in love and want to kiss and cuddle her all the time! They also enjoy opening all the many cards and gifts that we have received. Thank you everyone for your well wishes, prayers, and cards to celebrate Isabelle's birth.
Time is a strange thing. In some ways it only seems like yesterday that we left Prestbury, our friends and our little house, and yet in other ways it seems that we have been in our new home for ages. We all seem to have made the transition fairly smoothly and everyone has been very welcoming both in the schools and in the parish. Madeleine and Alice have settled in very well to their school and playgroup. Paul is thriving (?) on the daily challenges that school life brings and I am loving having family closer to hand especially now the little one is here. The new house is wonderful with enough space for the girls to lose themselves (and myself too, when I need some peace and quiet) but I am looking forward to feeling up to hanging pictures and mirrors and making all those finishing touches. The girls want to paint their bedroom too ......
We love to hear news from Prestbury and we keep fairly up to date with things via e-mails and the parish magazine. Of course, we would love to welcome anyone wishing to visit ...... starting with the Biggs' on their way back from DisneyLand Paris. Madeleine is already very excited.
And so, the baby monitor is flashing, Isabelle is waking up and my time has run out.
With love and prayers from
Anna, Fr Paul, Madeleine, Alice and Isabelle
As a youth work team we feel passionately about the importance of welcoming young people. Not just 'putting up' with - welcoming. Not just young people whom we get on with - all young people. We have found that, over months, young people respond to that welcome. We have seen trust built up, and been privileged to be part of the small things and the massive issues.
It has also been exciting to be part of the N:Gage initiative, sharing with hundreds of other young people from across the Diocese in worship, hearing the gutsy band Psalmistry, and in being challenged to broadcast the faith. Welcome does not just happen 'at home', it happens as we choose to connect with those we meet every day. On 3rd November, at N:Gage (the day) young people and leaders will be getting to grips with what it really means to share our faith.
One of the many highlights of the past few weeks for me was the drama presentation made by Synergy in the Children's and Youth Sunday Service. The presentation, and the young people's commitment, spoke of the need to be active - agents of change. Now, more than ever, we need to take the risky step of being welcoming people bringing hope to those around us.
PARISH OF PRESTBURY YOUTH WORK
Exploring Faith and Life
Highlights: Sat 3rd
November: N:Gage (The Day) Living out the
Y7+ youth club
Highlights: 70's night (15th) and Sports Fixture (22nd)
Y9+ youth club
Highlights: Lazer Quest 16th November
New members always welcome!
For more info on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly
Nympsfield, a peaceful village not known well to all of us, was easily
located from the clear instructions given to us. The Marist Centre itself,
a solid old country building with a very pleasing approach, reinforced the
atmosphere of peace which is the vital asset of a venue for a quiet day.
The topics chosen were broad enough to accommodate all tastes and were introduced in a remarkably relaxed and peaceful way.
Everyone agreed that the food provided in plenty throughout the day was indeed excellent. At least half our number opted for a quiet walk, planned and led by Colin, after the lunch. This was appreciated very much and some of us, including me, thought that this was a much better option than 'nodding off' after a hearty lunch. It certainly was, thanks to Colin, but alas, I succumbed during the next session, as did one or two others.
The personal guidance available and given by the Ministry Leadership Team, plus the printed leaflets and visual aids to guide us through every session, helped us to 're-create' naturally and easily. It is too easy to overlook the tremendous amount of thought, time and effort behind the detailed planning which made this quiet day so peaceful and successful. Our sincere gratitude to all.
Parish Quiet Day
The Parish Quiet Day was held at Nympsfield Convent, a fairly small building in the quiet village of Nympsfield. This provided an ideal setting for the day of worship and prayer based on the creation story. The day was called 'Re-create'. In the morning, after we had all been welcomed, there were two sessions, each with a short introduction. During this, we were given sheets and handouts to focus our thoughts on. However, this was an entirely optional exercise. There was also a Quiet Room with various CDs, extensive gardens to walk in, a library with a selection of books and a room for arts and crafts. I spent most of the day in there. During the first two sessions, we made a banner with 'Re-create' written on it. It was displayed in St Mary's for the following couple of weeks.
After a delicious lunch made by the nuns, there were another two sessions, one without an introduction. During this session, there was a guided walk around the surrounding area of the convent, led by Colin Holman. This proved to be a success. In the Arts and Crafts room, we started getting ourselves (and everyone else!) messy by inviting everyone to contribute their handprint to our new banner, which was displayed at St Nicolas'. At the end of the day, we gathered together again to share our experiences and feelings about the day. I thought that the day would be quiet(!) and very religious but I was surprised when I found the Quiet Day spiritual but also very enjoyable.
Anthony, Jill and David decided to go to the Tatra mountains, on the borders of Poland and Slovakia, this summer. The original plan had been to fly and hire a car, but a car hired in Slovakia cannot be driven into Poland and the travel agent could shed no light on the possibility of hiring in Poland and driving to Slovakia, so we took our own car.
Our first stop was in Cologne, where we arrived in time to look round the cathedral and ascend the tower and see the bells. Next Leipzig, where we were too late for the Bach Museum but did manage to see the Thomaskirche. We happened to need petrol on the motorway near Bautzen, and when Anthony entered the building to pay he found notices welcoming arrivals in both German and the local Wendish language. To his eye Wendish looked very like Czech.
Next we stopped in Cracow for several days. Here we saw both the town church and the cathedral, which, like our own Westminster Abbey, made so much of its status as burial place of the kings that it was difficult to perceive it as a place of worship. Here too we saw the bells - the largest had had a little adventure - its clapper had fallen out on Christmas Day 2000 and it had been rededicated with a new one (or the repaired one, the subtlety is beyond our Polish) by the bishop on Easter Day 2001.
St Mary's in the town centre had beautiful woodwork, including a 15th century 'pentaptych' (well, the guidebook thinks there is such a word! - it has five panels to a triptych's three) over the High Altar and a series of 17th century stalls whose backs portrayed scenes from St Mary's youth, not all of which were familiar to us, though adequately explained in the guide book. At dusk a bugler plays a cut-off tune, marking how a sentinel was killed by a Tartar arrow while raising the alarm in a 13th century invasion.
We took a local bus to the Wieliczka salt mines, where a chapel is carved out of salt. The first carver had only completed scenes of Herod ordering the massacre of the Holy Innocents, and of his troops carrying this out, but his successors had carved numerous other New Testament scenes, a statue of the local patron saint and statues portraying the sacred hearts of Jesus and of Mary.
Another day we drove into Ojcow national park. We walked to a little church at Grodzisko; a local worthy has an extraordinary stone monument in the graveyard, an obelisk on the back of an elephant. The elephant is about the size of a Shetland pony.
Our mountain resort in Poland, Zakopane, did have an old wooden church, but we had seen it on a previous visit and did not get to it again. Our resort in Slovakia had a modern church which was locked. We took a train trip to Kosice, whose cathedral is not geared up to tourists, not even Slovak speakers, except for allowing the ascent of an externally-entered tower. Most visitors inside the building had entered for private prayer. The tower had recently been restored after a fire and the remains of a destroyed 16th century bell had been reassembled in the square outside as an exhibit.
On the drive home we had a few hours in Prague and peered into Tyn church through the glass - it is only open for services while being restored. A Danish flag could be seen, presumably marking the astronomer Tycho de Brahe's tomb.
In several churches there were statues or paintings of St Joseph holding the baby Jesus; one had Him reaching up as if to pull Joseph's beard! There can be little doubt Joseph did hold Him, but this is a rarely portrayed theme here and we can only recall seeing it in Armagh RC cathedral.
This month's sportsman is Stephen.
I began playing table-tennis at the age of 13, mainly because our Maths master was a keen player (and international umpire) and was keen to encourage young people to play. He put a lot of time and effort into coaching us, initially himself and later arranging through his contacts in the game for more advanced coaches to come into school. Eventually we were competent enough for him to enter teams in the local leagues and even to participate in a few junior county tournaments. He also took us to international matches, sometimes only to watch but occasionally we had the honour of operating the scoring machines.
So that's how it all started but I have managed to keep playing through University, my first job in London and now in the local League here in Cheltenham. It's a chastening thought that I am now old enough to be considered a 'veteran'!
Most people think of 'ping pong' as a fairly undemanding holiday or recreational game but played at club, county or international level, it is a fast and exciting sport, demanding quick reactions and, at the top levels, high levels of fitness. Like many sports these days, it has become quite technological, with many different types of spin and speed being imparted to the ball depending on the type of blade or rubber used for the bat. These days you can buy blades made of carbon fibre or titanium if you are really serious and specialist rubbers rejoice in such names as 'Grass', 'Killer', 'Concrete' and 'Bamboo Curl'. It is often the cause of some disbelief how a fairly average player can become unbeatable overnight because of his new bat. A far cry from the good old days of plain wooden bats with no layer of sponge in between blade and rubber.
But technology is not the only thing to change. The game is still played on a 9' x 5' table with a 6" (sorry, 152.5mm!) net but last season saw the introduction of a larger 40mm ball to aid visibility at tournaments and on TV. This season, the old method of scoring up to 21 points and best of three games has been abandoned in favour of 11 points and best of five games, again designed to increase the momentum of play. Not all players favour these changes but, as with most sports, table tennis is having to move with the times to maintain a following.
Saturday 10th November at 7.30 pm
Table Top Sale
Saturday 24th November 10am-1pm
Saturday 24th November at 7.30pm
Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir Concert
More than 300 people enjoyed a wonderful musical evening at Christ Church on October 6th. The varied musical programme encompassing Verdi, Handel, Parry, Lemar & Loewe and Gilbert & Sullivan was brilliantly presented by the very talented Jill Padfield, soloist, and accomplished choir members accompanied by the expertise and polished performance of Penny Hughes. Our special thanks go to Marion Beagley for all her hard work, in particular obtaining sponsorship for the concert and selling a huge number of tickets. The total raised is over £1700.
Prestbury Parish Magazine - November 2001
The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933
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