It has been a month of many different events. We’ve seen the school break up for the summer holidays. That means we’ve seen the children of year six move off to begin their time at senior school. This year, the children of year six are going to seven different schools. Each class of year six children at the schools in the deanery go each year to Saint Margaret’s Church, which stands right next to Westminster Abbey, for the school leavers’ service. I can’t remember exactly how many schools came, but the church was filled to capacity with just one class from each! The service was good, with hymns and readings suited to the children all preparing to move on. There was even a very good performance by a young boy who played a solo on the piano. Saint Margaret’s itself is a wonderful Church and well worth a look in. I’m sure it gets overlooked by its much larger neighbours all around!
This last month has seen the only funeral to take place at Saint Matthew’s whilst I have been here. I’ve been going every few weeks to visit the people who live in the nursing home in the parish who we take communion to once a month. I’ve quite enjoyed my visits there in between taking communion, just visiting people and having a few short chats. One of the ladies who was resident there died at the beginning of July, aged 95, Lilian Barr. She had been unwell for some time, and died peacefully. She had left precise instructions on what was to happen, and the funeral I thought was very Lilian.
We had a church outing one Saturday which brought with it several new experiences. We were going to visit Canterbury, to see a previous pastoral assistant, Sally, who is now a university chaplain. We got the train just after half past nine from St Pancras Station. That particular train is the fast train, which uses the high speed lines that the Eurostar uses. I’ve never travelled at such speed on land, and the journey is a little over an hour on that train, as opposed to an hour and a half on the regular tracks. We had a short communion service in a small chapel at the cathedral, which, surprisingly was hidden up a tight staircase which was behind the sort of door that I usually wonder what is behind it! We then went and had a tour of the Cathedral with Sally, who previously used to work there as a verger. The Cathedral as Canterbury is quite like any other I’ve seen. As you venture further into the building, it just goes up. It is quite vast and beautiful to look at. The floor level rises 3 times, so by the time you get to the east end, you can’t see the floor level at the west end. I can also now say that I’ve stood on the spot where Saint Thomas Becket was murdered all those centuries ago!
I’ve also been away with my family to stay at my aunt and uncle’s in West Sussex. There were more cousins staying with other relatives there, so it turned into a fairly big family gathering. It was good to see them all, and have days out in Sussex, Hampshire, and we even ventured to Weymouth. My parents and sister came into London for one night after Sussex, and stayed here. On the evening, we went to see Shrek the musical, which was very good and I can highly recommend. I came back to London for a week, and then set off, just last Saturday morning to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, for the wedding of another cousin. It was quite an event, with many of the relatives there that we hadn’t seen for 9 or 10 years! There were even new relations that have been born in that time but we hadn’t yet seen them! That was the day the riots began in London, yet there I was in Nottinghamshire, at a wedding, oblivious to what was going on, but was receiving messages from friends asking if I was alright. It wasn’t until afterwards I realised that they had seen what was happening and thought of me. From Nottinghamshire, I came home to Shotton for a few days, so I missed any rioting in London at all, providing that no more starts.