We took this as the title for a series following the Acts readings through after Easter to look at the transformation of people and ideas that Easter brought about. These are the links to the individual talks, and within those links are also links to the Homegroup notes if that is of interest.
We started with Easter Sunday itself. We had been wrestling with some issues ourselves as a Church, so it felt as if we had our feet very firnly on the ground...
I have enjoyed this series and found it quite stimulating to reflect on this sense of change, and to be a little wary of our own (sometimes overly) fixed preconceptions.
Got to our day off on Friday this week and felt really tired. The week wasn't especially busy, but some quite demanding meetings.
We met after Church on Sunday to discuss our Worship and had a pretty constructive meeting, rattling through the issues quite quickly. I think we are all more or less on the same wavelength, which is encouraging.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch out on Monday as part of Birthday celebrations for our Churchwarden. Lovely views across the Severn and the food was good too. We were then out together again for the Visitation, where the newly elected (or re-elected) Churchwardens go and swear at the Archdeacon. We were all the way out at Castle Combe, and they had helpfully laid on a minibus from the car park at the top of the hill. First person I bumped in to as I got off the bus was Charlie, who had been Churchwarden when we first arrived at South Wraxall. Great to see him again, and chat briefly over a cranberry juice afterwards.
Tuesday was back to School for a really helpful session going through poilicies relating to the Church Foundation, and the previous SIAS inspection report. Really great to be able to both talk freely and make some good progress on lots of fronts in one go. The evening was taken up with our Church Council. We had a lot to get through and I think we sort of got there - it's difficult to tell sometimes from 'the Chair'. I had also got a first draft of revising our Team structure to try to reflect our Growth Strategy, but I decided at the last minute not to table them for discussion as that could have lasted all night, preferring instead to talk to the relevant people about each section and see where we get to...
I noticed that my back V-brakes were not working very well on the bike, so I had a go at sorting them on Wendesday morning. Not sure quite what I did, but they seemed to fix themselves, so I was all systems go for cycling to Chapter meeting across town in Soundwell. Google Maps suggested a bike route of about 6.6 miles, and it was great to do the ride there and back. I said I had done it to get some fresh air and one wag asked if there was any fresh air between Patchway and Soundwell. Well, there was - in fact there were some really lovely bits; Filton Road where it goes past the Cricket Club and under the M32, Frenchay Common and then down to the river. Really beautiful and pretty traffic free.
On the return journey I passed some of the old Rolls-Royce site near here...
The sight of these old turnstile gates with the piles of rubble behind reminded me of the loss of much of our manufacturing heritage. The ground, apparently, is still too contaminated to be turned over for housing (no doubt one day it will become economically viable to do all the necessary cleaning up). So whilst it may be easy to blame the Thatcher years for this loss, I guess the seeds of its own destruction were already being planted with such a lack of investment and care that allowed the land to become so poisoned. Perhaps we allowed too many important things about the land and belonging to it to become forgotten in the rush for easy money.
In the evening was School Governors, and we had some big plans to get going, so it was a long meeting, but some fantastic work had been done beforehand so it never felt unproductive.
A couple of visits on Thursday, and then day off - and boy did we need it! Great to be able to walk in the woods and catch the bluebells at pretty much their best.
It has also been a really noisy week on site as they finish some groundworks for the houses nearby. It is looking really lovely as the sun shines and the render makes the area look light and airy. There are also some fabulous landscaped areas just down the road as well. A photo for posterity of the houses opposite...
...and great to meet the couple who will be moving in next door on Monday. They seem really nice.
And I finished this morning with a new Personal Best at the Little Stoke Park Run AND I remembered my bar code, so it counts this week. All that's left to do is get tomorrow night's curry going and we're almost set for another Sunday.
It is easy to take a photo of the moment all the spices go into the wok, but if only there was an App to capture that magnificent nutty aroma...
Highlight of this week, by some measure, was our trip to Stratford to see the RSC's production of Hamlet. A quite intense evening, 3 hours 35 minutes so we made sure we had a nice quick supper before we went in! I have now been going to Stratford for 30 years, thanks to Mrs J (or Miss L as she was when we first went). We've lost track of all the plays we have actually been to, but it has to be quite a few now.
We chatted about the new theatre, having been very attached to the old one. The new one is quite something, and the staging for Hamlet was very good (not quite up to Macbeth last year where the three witches were actually children suspended from the roof - quite a disturbing, in a Doctor Who kind of way), so it is perhaps only nostalgia that finds any fault.
The cast can really interact with the audiences with this Thrust Stage, and enter and exit from all four corners as well as the back.
In the new areas we came across a fascinating exhibition of costumes. We didn't see any that came from a production we had seen, but to look at costumes worn by Gielgud, for example, was quite something. I didn't have my Olympus with me, so I had to rely on the iPhone for photos.
We took the opportunity on the way up of a bit of National Trusting, and so we popped in to Chastleton House near Moreton in Marsh. It was quite beautiful - a real lost in time sort of place.
There are some stunning rooms and little details; dresses hanging in a wardrobe for example, which make it look as if the residents had only just left.
It was good to get away for a night, too. Building continues apace around us, and some days it is a bit noisy. We do now seem to have the start of landscaped areas, turfed with brickwork paths. This is going to be nice to stroll around in the summer. Looks good for a BBQ too!
Quite a few meetings this week, with School being a special prominence, but two realy special "social" visits which both seemed to be timed just right.
Nearly finished for tomorrow, although some last minute ideas mean I might have to do some editing of what I say.
Another week whizzes by, although thankfully without tonsillitis - now back to normal. Thank goodness!
Quite a busy week in Church...
A large and very moving funeral on Tuesday for somebody closely connected with us, and then a lovely wedding yesterday (my first one here!).
The sun kindly came out for both occasions, which was much appreciated. We also had some sun for our day off too...
Feeling a little more myself I was able to get some runs in, and got to my first Little Stoke Park Run in almost a month. We were out of the original course, following the perimeter tarmac path for three laps and then a grassy sprint for the finish. I caught up a couple of people on the last straight, but one of them just got past me again as a slackened off for the line. We have run together a couple of times, so I will have words next week and make sure it doesn't happen again!
Glad to be able to get to see the new Iron Man film (in 3D) with E last night.
This morning good in Church, if a little quiet with a few away for the Bank Holiday Weekend. Back later for informal evening service, then Open House tomorrow.
We moved in here six months ago yesterday...
...but, as in any new start, that cold and rather damp November evening as the Removal Men coped with mud and new carpets seems to be an age ago now.
The view opposite has changed quite dramatically too from last November...
...whereas now the houses are looking pretty much complete externally. We also now have neighbours and it looks like the house immediately behind us is about to be occupied, and obviously a sunny day makes a big difference too.
Our engagement with the builders is a lot less now as they focus on the new houses, which means there are usually huge numbers of sub-contractors around, but we still chat to the Bovis guys when we see them.
Early hiccups with post codes and phone lines are now more or less sorted, although delivery drivers still struggle as we are not on their sat-nav.
The size of the development is something we hadn't quite understood at first, but the development is proceeding in small blocks of 50-100 dwellings, and these blocks are not necessarily connected on the yet-to-appear internal road and cycle routes. This is something we are working on at the moment, but it begs the question how any sense of community can be created when the building is done in this manner.
We are still learning a huge amount about the existing community of Patchway and are working on ways of getting known around the place. Inevitably this is slow.
We do feel we have arrived, and are hugely grateful for the new opportunities that this place is offering. Here's to the next six months!
The sectret word for this week has been 'penicillin', and I have just taken the final two tablets of this wonderful stuff which sorted out my tonsillitis. I can now breath and swallow!
Monday was another gig noght. We ventured down to The Croft in Stokes Croft to see Hope and Social - what a great band! Huge energy and entertainment value for a crowd of, let me see, must have been nearly 40 of us. Gutted to read that The Croft is closing in a couple of weeks, but you do have to ask how on earth anybody made any money on Monday night.
As I said the gig was fab, and was quite up close and personal. Several times the band had the PA turned off, and they came into the audience and sang to an acoustic guitar.
Tuesday was dissertation deadline day, so back from the gig for the final spurt of editing and compiling F's magnum opus. We then went over to Bath Spa, printed, bound handed in and walked by the lake to enjoy the rest of the day off.
We didn't find a pub for lunch, but enjoyed the Bertinet Cafe in Bath (Croque Monsieur), home for the first real sunny evening and so the garden furniture bought for us when we left Winsley was brought out of the garage and we sat in the back garden for an Indian and a cider.
Several normal days followed - meetings, encouragements, slight disappointments - the usual suspects, but a couple of mums came to our Pre-School Drop In on Friday morning, and I really enjoyed chatting.
We had several local Church leaders around on Friday evening for a Fraternal social. Great food and loads of conversations going on - good to meet some of my colleagues, rounded off with decent coffees from the machine.
The highlight of the week was last night when we zoomed over to Salisbury for our neice's Confirmation in the Cathedral (aka, "the Mothership"). A celebratory supper in a Brasserie over the road followed.
Long and occasionally bitter experience prompted me to point out the curiously diuretic effect of the font. If you end up too close for a long service the sound of the quietly flowing water can have quite a debilitating impact.
We were so poud of E, though. Lovely evening.
And now back to Sunday with normal life with those we love here...
And the secret word for this week has been 'tonsillitis'. My sore back graciously gave way to the arrival of a rather aggresive throat infection, which had me struggling for a couple of days before going to see the Nurse who gave those reassuring words - white pustules (a lovely picture for the imagination) and prescibed penicillin. Am finally starting to feel better, and have had two nights now of reasonably unbroken sleep. Relief!
I was able to set aside some time, fortunately, to doze and start to recover a bit which was greatly appreciated.
We were both a bit sad to have our family time together draw to a close. I took T back to Leicester on Friday and enjoyed a lovely (if slightly tricky to swallow) lunch at Salvador Deli's. The pastrami and mustard ciabatta was gorgeous - a repeat visit is essential.
As I drove back I had some time to think through some of the issues raised a couple of days earlier when I was privileged to have been invited to attend the local Communities Against Hate Crimes forum (despite the Chairman wrongly thinking I was representing a neighbouring Town Council!). I quite often tell the story in School Assemblies of my shame at having made fun of a little Sikh boy at Primary School - I don't think I knew his real name so I can't find him on Facebook to apologise (virtually) face to face. I'm glad times have changed and these attitudes are no longer acceptable. Some of the stories shared at the meeting sadly demonstrate the depths at which issues such as racism and homophobia still fester. One area of particular concern locally is that of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, and it looks like we'll be doing more work on that in the months to come. I was relieved that the first funeral I did locally for a member of that community went well!
I had also felt encouraged by my four month initial review, and good to be able to chat to Bishop Lee for a couple of hours about some of the joys, struggles and things we'd learnt since we arrived here in November. This is a good place, and the timing of our arrival was just right given the tipping point in all the changes in the local setting, and being the first onto this little section of the development.
So having been in the car for most of Friday it was good to be able to walk along the ridge above Almondsbury and enjoy the sun going down over Wales and the Severn.
It is really difficult to find the perfect view of the Second Severn Crossing in the wider context of the estuary and the Welsh hills.
Now a bit of time trying to improve the back lawn, finish tomorrow's things, then (hopefully) sit back and take in some sunshine and hopefully some cricket, looking forward to Church tomorrow...
The idea of names has been going around my head as I put Sunday on the horizon. I wrote a very short story as part of my plan for School Assemblies this week, and I put some names in for the frioends of the person the story was about. Only then did it strike me how names have changed and how the names of many boys at Primary School are very different from when I was there. Are there any Howards any more? Or Steven? A quick flick through some of my younger Facebook friends provided me with plenty of material.
We are planning to think about Simon becoming Peter. Simon means 'he has heard' and, as I'm sure you know, Jesus names him Peter 'the rock'. For the rest of the Gospels it might be thought that this was actually quite ironic.
I did have the idea of searching Facebook for other people called 'Howard Jameson' - it suggests there are nine others before getting to people called 'Jameson Howard' and other combinations. Somehow I feel my individuality is threatened here. I then followed a link from this blog, as some access it by searching for my name in Google and I came across the obituary for my namesake, the Revd Howard O. Jameson. Amazingly he had a son called Timothy too.
However, if you are in any way concerned - this is still me.
Wow! Another week blazes by at full speed...
This past week will be remembered mostly for the pain in my back. I seemed to have inflamed something about 2/3 way down my spine by a combination of pulling bikes out of the back of the Land Rover, hitting a tree stump whilst trying to keep up with the boys on their bikes, and lifting a suitcase into the back of the Landy. As a result several muscles took it upon themselves to go into a spasm at random times of the day and night, thereby making me go "ouch!" and having to change position rather cautiously.
Two trips to the Chiropractor seem to have done the trick!
I also got thoroughtly soaked whilst cycling in to do a visit on Thursday evening. An inevitable consequence at some stage of trying to ditch the car as much as possible. No long term effects once my trousers had dried out.
There were some good bits to this week too, though. I think I got to my sixth Duke Special gig on Friday, although the Louisiana in Bristol is probably the smallest venue I have been in for quite some time. Having said that Duke himself was fantastic - I loved the way he came on and got the audience to rearrange itself by height in order to allow as many to see as possible.
Saturday night was our surprise Birthday trip bowling. I resisted any Big Lebowski quotes throughout, even though I could have done with something to detract attention from my abysmal perofrmance. In my defence, your honour, I was trying not to put too mcuh strain on my back just in case. As it was it was fine - perhaps next time I will ditch the Chiropractor appointments and just go bowling instead!
Good to be back in Church this morning after a week away. We started a new series about the changes that Easter brought about - what I said is here if you have trouble sleeping. After that we had our Annual Meeting. I always try to keep these as brief as possible, not because they are unimportant but simply because they can D R A G quite horrendously. It was good to have some questions and discussions, and a quick bit of a buffet lunch afterwards. Sadly, I had to dash to help load up the Landy again. This weekend marks the end of the Easter holidays with boys returning to School and Uni things. It has been wonderful to share these last few weeks together, with laughter and jokes aplenty.