About 5 years ago, a couple were married at our chapel. The story of how Virginia (who lived in Ontario, Canada) and Steve (from Dorset) met is a testament to the working of God in the lives of individuals. Both have a strong affinity with the village of Tytherington, Virginia's great, great Grandfather having emigrated to Canada from Tytherington, way back in the 19th century. Each year, the couple holiday in England and always return to share worship with us at the chapel. Steve has agreed to send a series of Newsletters to us, so as to perpetuate and strengthen the links between ourselves and our respective churches.
Just when you think things can't get any worse, they probably will, as the saying goes. Our experience of The Great British Bed And Breakfast Lock In was still fresh in our minds (unfortunately) as, on our way to Gatwick, we sat stuck in a huge traffic jam on the M3 wondering whether the car park that is the M25 would hold even greater frustrations for us when we reached it. Happily it didn't and we were able to hand over our hire car at Gatwick on time, albeit after imposing severe restrictions on ourselves on the number and duration of toilet breaks en route !!!! The next day we settled into our seats for the long haul to Canada, sad to be leaving England of course but once again refreshed with happy memories of Tytherington and Cornwall. After total travelling time of some 13 hours it was with not inconsiderable relief that these two weary travellers settled in the car for the thirty minute drive home. "Can't get any worse ??" Yep, it did for the car showed every intention of refusing to budge an inch with what seemed to be an extremely flat battery. This was confirmed by the CAA man (Canadian AA), the result of a faulty door that hadn't switched off the inside light. This had drained the battery the three weeks we were away. Jump leads got us on our way and Virginia, bless her, was very tolerant to my repeated requests of "whatever you do don't turn the engine off until we get home" !!! Not only that, but we had to put up with thirty minutes of incessant warning chimes as the door did not register as properly closed, which it was. So it was with grateful relief that we finally got home at some hour well past midnight UK time and we soon got into bed hoping not to dream of keys, cars and jump lead cables.
As most of you know we were able to fit in two church services this time in Tytherington, one at the joint service at St James and one at the Baptist church, although the latter was sadly severely shortened after our version of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here at a local B&B. Nevertheless, we were delighted to meet everyone again at what is sadly only an annual event for us. The added and unexpected bonus for us was to be able to attend the Tytherington May Day Fair which we thoroughly enjoyed. One of the many highlights for us was the wet sponges stall where a certain person was repeatedly "volunteered" to be the target, encouraged in no small part by his dad. No prizes for guessing who we are talking about !!! Many congratulations for the money you raised J and M. We were also very impressed by the way Pastor Brian manfully took to the stocks for a drenching at the end. We would, however suggest that he did this earlier next year when the water supply should be more plentiful !! Beryl did a wonderful job on the sweets counter but I am sure she did me out of a penny chew which I fully intend to collect one day (not really) !!! Pat also did a sterling job on the "Chelsea Flower Show" plant section but I wonder if it might have helped if we could have got the organ from the church for her to play at the same time !! An idea for next year perhaps ??? Dave was a wonderful town crier and we were content in the knowledge that he was ready to step in as a reserve maypole dancer if needed. Anyway as usual we have it all on DVD so if any Canadian asks what it's like in England we can show them the Tytherington May Day Fair ....... with no guarantee on the weather of course !!!!
Talking of England, a couple of weeks ago I proudly bedecked my car with the flags of St George and the Union Jack to leave no one in any doubt whatsoever who I was supporting at the World Cup. Despite being outnumbered by French, Dutch and Germans I proudly flew the flags down every street I could find in St Thomas. Then came the Italy result. Despite this minor temporary setback my flags still fluttered though the French, Dutch and Germans were showing little EU comradeship towards me at this difficult time. I think it was 5 minutes after the referee called time on the Uruguay match that I sheepishly took down my flags in the secrecy and privacy of my garage ...... with the door shut just in case anyone came to gloat !! Virginia, being Canadian, still doesn't see what all the fuss was about but I am hoping to explain all in the two years leading up to the 2016 Europeans what it all means to a hot blooded Englishman. Don't give much for my chances though !!
Since our arrival back here the garden has taken centre stage (for any Americans reading this, that's center stage) as it recovers from the ravages of winter. Our two strawberry patches which last year went on strike have suddenly returned to work with masses of fruit asking to be picked. We are also trying raspberries and a cherry tree for the first time though it will take a couple of years before they (hopefully) fruit in good numbers. The wild birds are eating us out of house and home as we try to keep the bird feeder stocked up. There is also a resident chipmunk that has little trouble finding the peanuts Virginia puts out for it. Sweet as it looks my father in law only sees them as potential pests so we don't tell him we have "adopted" one and call him Charlie !!!
As most of you know, Virginia .....I want to say "celebrated" but somehow it doesn't seem appropriate .....had her special birthday the other day and I think that by the time she had opened her many presents it didn't seem such a traumatic event as she imagined. I know she was overjoyed with the card you all signed at Tytherington Baptist Church and I know she will thank you all for that ... as I do. In 2022 on 4th of August it will be my 70th so please mark it in your diaries !!!!!!
See you next time, have a lovely summer
Steve and Virginia