So we are peering out through the darkness and see the sky getting lighter heralding a new dawn. We can go to a restaurant for a meal. We can get a haircut. Ah what blessed relief! That is, of course, to those who still have hair to be cut and don’t have to pay for the barber to carry out a search first. We can go back to working in an office. Churches are open now for public worship. It is possible, under certain circumstances, to visit someone in a care home.

There are mixed reactions though. Many people are staying away from these venues. They realise that although the risk has been minimised there is still a risk. It’s interesting as well to hear people talk about how they will continue with their new “normal”. Many are saying I enjoy working from home and when the children have gone back to school it will be much easier. Others are finding that they are saving money by not going for a regular weekly shop by doing it on a fortnightly basis.

We are all making adjustments and getting used to the restrictions that are associated with our new-found freedoms. We are rather like a pet dog; we are being let out for a walk but kept on a lead.

In some respects life was easier under Lockdown. We didn’t need to make decisions. We were told to stay at home. We were not allowed out. Other people went out to do the shopping for us. The decisions were made for us. But our freedoms are precious, freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom to roam, freedom to choose, freedom to question and challenge. We yearn for it. We fight for it. Freedom though carries with it responsibility, particularly what we have at the moment. Now we have to make decisions. We have to make choices.

The Israelites were locked down into slavery in Egypt. But then came Moses and they were given freedom. They became free to make their own decisions. Wandering in the Sinai desert though was a rather limited freedom and at times they grumbled and wanted to go back, back to what they had come to regard as “normal”. They had lost so much when they left Egypt. They had lost what little they possessed materially especially food and water. Now their lives were at risk because they no longer could rely on it being there. Gradually during this time of semi-freedom they discovered a new life, a new “normal”. They discovered themselves; they formed a people. They became the people of the One God. They discovered something that was not just for them but for generations that were yet to come, something lasting, something timeless.

That was the result of the limited freedom that was given to the Israelites when they came out of Lockdown. Do we see that happening to us?

MATINS 11.00 am

Genesis Ch. 29 vs. 15 –28
Romans Ch 8 vs. 26-39

Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of thy name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Followed by HOLY COMMUNION using BCP.

The service will start just after the Absolution with “hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith.”


We have made provisions so that everyone can feel safe. E.g., sanitising gel and social distancing on the path and in the church. At the administration of the Communion you will only be offered the bread and that will take place at the bottom of the first step to the altar rail. You are free to come just for a Blessing if you prefer. Just keep your hands by your sides. You are also free to remain in your seats. The sidespeople will guide you in the church to your seat and into and out of the Chancel for Communion. We are not allowed to sing hymns but thanks to the churchwardens we will be playing some recorded hymns. It will seem a little strange but none-the-less a service of worship offered to God.

A recording of the sermon will be on the Website and on Eric’s Facebook page.

If you have a copy of the Matins service please bring it with you. There will be one available for you anyway. Please keep it & try to remember to bring it to the next Matins service. Thank you

Eric will take his final service as your Chaplain on August 30th at 11.00 am.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting is to take place on Monday 17th August in the church at 7.00 pm

Eric has visited Olive Patten and sat in the garden at the Wharf Care Home with her. Olive was a little tired and feeling “ancient”.

Keith Mackay has settled in to Waterside and is reasonably happy.

If you want to read a Summary of the Open Conversations held in the Diocese a little over 12 months ago you can find it on the Internet at about-us/open-conversations


In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, there is space enough for trees to grow—and space enough for 2 million residents to plant truckloads of trees while social distancing. Although the virus has spread fast throughout the country, its threat was not enough to dissuade the government of the most-populous Indian state from conducting a mass treeplanting campaign along the banks of the river Ganges as part of its pledge to shade a third of the nation under tree cover by 2030.

The nation’s target acreage of 235 million acres would represent an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined. The planting was carried out last week by volunteers, nonprofit employees, government workers, and even lawmakers, all of whom maintained distance from each other and wore face masks to stop the possible spread of coronavirus. “We are committed to increase the forest cover of Uttar Pradesh to over 15% of the total land area in next five years,” said the state’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath. “In today’s campaign, over 20 million trees will be planted at the banks of the Ganges river, which will help in keeping this mighty river clean.”


He lies in a grave in our churchyard,
Beneath the mouldering loam,
His inscription is simply written,
Upon his elegant tomb.
Now lichen and moss are his neighbours
And a robin occasionally calls
And the wind in the trees
And the hum of the bees
And the cry of the owl as night falls,
Hear the sounds of his mouldering slumbers,
From his falling asleep long ago.
So who was this man ‘Peter Pocket’ ?
Was his life full of joy, full of woe ?
There is little of him that is written,
His inscription is sparse, no birth-date,
Christmas Eve 1880,plus six was the day,
When called to his natural fate.
But ‘Highwayman’, can this be honest,
Can we think this description is true?
This elegant grave, this God-bless-ed spot,
And “Stand and Deliver” ,or else you’ll be shot
Don’t ring loud and clear.
This great mystery deepens, not many clues here.
But what’s this on his tomb, this deep-chiselled word,
Ascribed by a person, whose passion he stirred?
A victim of ambush now shaking with fear,
Then howling with anger as Pete galloped clear ?
With his trinkets and watches and money a-plenty,
He vowed he’d get Peter if years it took twenty
But time rolled on by and our victim forgot,
That long-ago day when he almost was shot.
His money, his watch and his trinkets all gone,
He moved on in the world, and for him,
The light shone.
So that when Peter died and the news filtered through,
He finally vowed that forgiveness was due
And that Peter should have his black slate rendered clean,
With his grave-stone inscribed “Exodus verse fourteen”
What chapter is that, let’s kneel down and see,
Then feel with our fingers-it’s here-“twenty three”.
“ Exodus Ch. 23 verse 14”
My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest”

Roger Johnson
Written 18 December


From recipes from “THE BEACH HUT” 


Knob of butter,
diced onion,
small pack pancetta cubes,
4 sticks celery,sliced,
2 potatoes cut into small cubes,
2 cans sweetcorn,
3 tbs plain flour,
1 tsp mustard powder,
300ml white wine,
small tub single cream,
450ml milk,
200gm tinned cooked crab meat,
juice 1 lemon,
small bunch chopped parsley.

In a large pan sauté the pancetta cubes and celery for 5mins until the onion is softened.
Add potatoes and sweetcorn and sauté another 5 mins.
Stir in the flour and mustard powder and cook about a minute.
Add wine, cream and milk, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins.
Remove from the heat and add crabmeat.

Serve in individual bowls with a little lemon juice and a sprinkling of parsley.

Followed by:-


1kg Strawberries hulled (leave 4 unhulled)
4 tbs caster sugar,
half bottle red wine,
250ml tub double cream,
tbs icing sugar .

Place the hulled strawberries in a large bowl and dredge with caster sugar.
Pour over the wine to cover the strawberries,
leave I the fridge (if you have one) or place in a cool spot for a couple of hours
Whip the cream with the icing sugar to soft peaks.
Serve in individual dishes topped with cream and a whole unhulled strawberry on top.

Serves four generous portions

The Devil’s in the details

A guy dies and is sent to hell. Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one to spend eternity in.
In the first room, people are standing in dirt up to their necks.
The guy says, ‘No, let me see the next room.’
In the second room, people are standing in dirt up to their noses.
Guy says no again.
Finally Satan opens the third room. People are standing with dirt up to their knees, drinking coffee and eating pastries.
The guy says, ‘I pick this room.’
Satan says Ok and starts to leave, and the guy wades in and starts pouring some coffee.
On the way out Satan yells, ‘OK, coffee break’s over.
Everyone back on your heads!’

A genie and an idiot

Three guys stranded on a desert island find a magic lantern containing a genie, who grants them each one wish.
The first guy wishes he was off the island and back home.
The second guy wishes the same.
The third guy says: ‘I’m lonely. I wish my friends were back here.’

Snail with an attitude

A guy is sitting at home when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees a snail on the porch. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can. Three years later there’s a knock on the door. He opens it and sees the same snail. The snail says: ‘What was that all about?’