January 2021

From the Dragons’ Den

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Here we are again! Although not quite as usual! Due to Covid-19, we weren’t able to enjoy our Christmas Tree Festival but, in its place, we experienced ‘Light Up Pontesbury’ when lots of people decorated their businesses and houses to light the village up in delightful Christmas displays. We enjoyed a Service of Lessons and Carols, Crib Service, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services when, although only our choir were able to sing, we were glad of the Good News of the birth of a special baby.

Here we are in a New Year, 2021. In the past year we have had to leave aside many activities, such a Little Dragons, Messy Church, Friday Club and even many of the church services.  Now we live in hope that they all may be reinstated in the coming months. Several of our congregation members have been involved in new tasks such as leading services and keeping Members in contact with one another.  Our Church Wardens and PCC have worked hard to ensure continuity, and our choir, despite that lack of a regular organist, have done much to keep their area of expertise alive and well.

Thus, time passes and we look forward to an increasingly wonderful, happy and fulfilling New Year, enlivened by the arrival of our new Rector, Reverend Gregg Smith and his wife, Fran. We look forward to their arrival in February and hope that they will soon feel at home amongst us.

Sending you every good wish for the New Year and for many years to come, Val Butterworth  

P.S.     Also from we three: – George , Uncle Sam and Idris

December 2020

  From the Dragons’ Den

George, Uncle Sam and Idris writing:

Such an anti-climax. We three had grown very excited as we thought that things were getting back to normal.  We knew that people have been coming along on the day known as Sunday and we really thought that we might be taken for our wash and brush-up, ready to greet our Little Dragon friends again.

What a disappointment! We have heard the words – ‘another lockdown’ – and we know enough to realise that we will be staying in our basket for a bit – or maybe a lot – longer than we thought. 

Never mind! Just one of those things!  We are feeling happy though, as we have heard something special.  This special thing is that, after a long, long time, someone known as a Rector is coming before too long.  Everyone has worked really hard to keep things going, even though they have for the most part ignored us in our basket, in our cupboard.  They have worked really hard to keep everyone’s spirits cheerful, and to keep the things called Services going.  Soon, we have heard, the new Rector will be joining us and we three are really looking forward to meeting him.

What with the new arrival and the hoped-for end to this lockdown thing, perhaps we will receive our wash and brush-up soon and be back in action.  (Hope it isn’t too cold when we are hung out on the washing line to dry off.

In the meantime, we know that the time of Christmas is coming soon.  We won’t be able to have our Little Dragon party this year and the funny man in the big red coat won’t be calling in. However, we do know that it won’t be too long after that when the excitement of the new Rector will be upon us.  We really look forward to it.

So, to all of you, we send the Season’s Greetings.  (Oh, how we will miss all those lovely trees this year!)   Hope we are out and about before too long.

Val sends every good wish. 

Best wishes from we three:-

George
Uncle Sam

Idris

November 2020

From the Dragons’ Den

George, Uncle Sam and Idris writing:

We three have been really excited lately as we have heard people coming in and out of church at different times.  Sometimes they come in and spend a little time near the candle stand. First of all, they sit quietly for a little while, then they light one of the candles.  We like that very much as it makes us feel less lonely. 

Sometimes those people who call themselves the choir come in and they are a bit noisier.  They sing songs and have a really enjoyable time. We always join in with them as we know some of the songs they sing.  We especially like the one they sing which says:

‘Calm me Lord, as you calmed the storm. Still me Lord, keep me from harm.

Let all the tumult within me cease. Enfold me Lord in your peace.

They like singing that one and we love listening to it as it makes us feel that everything might return to normal sometime. 

We don’t know when all the Little Dragons will come back but we feel that if our friends keep singing, then everything will sort itself out.  We hope so as we miss all our church friends who we have got to know over the past 14 years. 

We will know when things are getting back to normal because we will be taken out of the cupboard and given a bath, ready to face the world.  So, if you see a new picture of us hanging on the washing line, you will know that things are looking good.

Val sends every good wish. 

Best wishes from we three:  – George     Uncle Sam   and Idris.

October 2020

  From the Dragons’ Den

 Covid-19 still rules much of our lives and many of our activities.  George, Uncle Sam and Idris remain in their cupboard and are, no doubt, feeling rather neglected.  However, we press on and optimistically hope that at sometime in the near future, we will be able to meet safely and enjoy our Little Dragon sessions once again. 

Gradually, opportunities have been available for some members of our church society to meet for worship in a safely-socially-distanced way, whilst other activities such as Little Dragons and Friday Club are still ‘On Hold!’.  This is probably of greater significance when considering the health and welfare of our Group Leaders rather than that of our little people.  I must say, on a personal note, that it is rather uncomfortable to realise that one is firmly placed in the ‘old and vulnerable’ group.  Quite a knock to the self-esteem.  However, there it is and one must be realistic. Just don’t look in a mirror!

In the meantime, we continue from day to day, washing our hands, not touching our faces and keeping spaces; remembering to smile from behind our masks, caring about each other, remembering each other in our prayers and looking forward to calmer, more normal days ahead. (And naturally, singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York!’ at least three times a day!)

Query: normal – or – new normal?

Every good wish, Val

September 2020

From the Dragons’ Den

September already and still uncertainty about if, when and how we will continue to meet at Little Dragons. We await further advice and instruction from the Diocese of Hereford.

In the meantime:  a pinch of doggerel.

George, Sam and Idris, feel all alone

Here in the cupboard without laptop or phone.

Where are our friends? Dragons big or small?

No sign of anyone, no one at all!

If you are passing, please open our door.

Our basket awaits you, there on the floor.

We are so lonely and hope you will peep

Into our dwelling, though we might be asleep!

And even if sleeping, we will know you have been

To visit the dragons, alone and unclean!

For Val hasn’t bathed us to be ready to share

With all Little Dragons the toys waiting there.

So, please, please remember, as you’re passing by

Thinking and wondering, as well you might!

As you perhaps light a candle or say a small prayer;

Remember three dragons, awaiting you there.

Best wishes from we three:  – George     Uncle Sam   and Idris.

August 2020

  From the Dragons’ Den

George writing, helped by Uncle Sam and Idris:

Hello Everyone.  We three are still sitting our basket, in the cupboard, wondering what is going to happen next.  We have been sitting here for a long time (Idris says it is nearly 20 weeks!) wondering where everyone has gone.  We haven’t seen any BIG or Little Dragons and no-one has opened either the cupboard or our lid to say, ‘Hello!’   We are hoping that someone will come soon and check that we are OK.  Usually, around now, we are taken to Val’s house for a wash and brush-up, but nothing so far. 

Uncle Sam, who has big ears, says that he has heard little feet pattering about and we are wondering whether some mice have got into our cupboard. George says there is a poem about mice who live in church and that, for some reason, they think they own the place when there aren’t any people about.  That is not good.  We know, that we three are here to look after things when the big door is locked, so, if we happen to see any mice, we will tell them to go somewhere else.

Anyway, we are hoping that it won’t be long before we hear some visitors coming into the church.  We think we heard some people a few days ago.  They didn’t come near where we are, but we think they sat quietly and lit candles.  We like that! We like it when it is quiet but we know that people are there, especially when they light the tiny candles. It seems to make them feel better and it makes us feel better too; not so lonely.

Come on everyone.  Come back soon! We miss you.

Best wishes from we three:  – George     Uncle Sam   and Idris.

July 2020

From the Dragons’ Den

At the time of writing, we have just celebrated Pentecost, which always reminds me of a time, many years ago, when, as a child, I joined in the Whitsuntide Walks which were a huge occasion in the Lancashire town where I lived as a child.

Oh, the great excitement of following the huge church banner, carried by two strong men, with ladies holding the ribbons, and we children following behind carrying baskets of flowers and arrayed in our new Whitsuntide clothes, and, if small, holding onto a rope so that we stayed in line. I loved walking in this procession especially if we had a brass band to accompany us.

Now, how does this associate in my mind with Little Dragons? 

One of the favourite activities for many of our little ones (and some of our Leaders) is to have the musical instruments out, to sing and play with fervour and, if I am feeling full of energy and bonhomie, to march up and down the large aisle, singing and playing, making a huge noise which to an outsider might seem like Bedlam (not far off) especially if the song is ‘The Grand Old Duke of York!’ sung lustily and loudly with all the instruments being wielded, for want of a better word, with much skill and enjoyment by these little people who obviously think that this is much more fun than sitting quietly listening to a story.

If you, like me, have to walk or move in time to any music that is within hearing, then you will have an inkling of why, wherever I am, there is music issuing forth either in song or humming. It is what motivates me in much of what I do and achieve and keeps me going if things are tough.  As you may imagine I have indulged in a lot of solo singing during past weeks during the period of lockdown.

Every good wish, Val – and George, Uncle Sam and Idris! x

June 2020

From the Dragons’ Den

Little Dragon Members are still ‘resting’ due to Covid-19 but we hope that one of these fine days we will be able to pick up the threads and recommence our very enjoyable sessions.  We miss those little people so much but manage to keep in touch with several of them and their families through social media.  We have sent birthday cards out to those who have celebrated their special day and, when we hold our future sessions, we are going to have to spend a long time catching up with the Happy Birthday ritual which is quite complex – candles, singing, choosing whether to hold George, Uncle Sam or Idris! So far, during lockdown we have sent cards to 9 LDs and there are 2 to come in June, 2 in July and a whole bunch in August so, if lockdown continues,  we could have to hold a special ‘Birthday Event’ in order to see that everyone gets their ‘moment in the sun’.

Today, as I write,  Frank is celebrating his birthday, so perhaps I will pop a few candles on his cake (not the full total as there isn’t a cake big enough!), get a spare dragon that lives with us in a box full of LD story props, so that when, later this evening, we do a face-to-face with the family, he will feel that he hasn’t missed out. Maybe, maybe not! 

Our church dragons send best wishes and hope for a speedy return of all their little friends.                      

Every good wish, Val

Best wishes from we three:  – George     Uncle Sam   and Idris.

May 2020

From the Dragons Den.

George, Uncle Sam and Idris writing:   Well, here we are, all alone and pleased to note that we are looking after this place, our home, as well as we can, given that we are supposed to stay in our cupboard, in our basket!

Val did tell us that we would have to give Little Dragons a rest for a little while because something called a virus was happening in the ‘big world’, and that means that all our Little Dragons won’t be safe to come for a while.  We, and the Senior Dragons, the Carers and the little people are all very sad about this, but know that it is the sensible thing to do.

So, even though we are supposed to stay put, we have taken it upon ourselves to do our best to take care of this place, called Church, that we really love.  Each day, we pop out and about to check that things are safe.  We check the Chancel which is so peaceful and we try to scare away any bats that may be hanging around as they do make such a mess. We aren’t always successful in this task but we have noticed that sometimes the man and the women called Church Wardens and their Assistants pop in and check everything and we are hoping that they can sort out that problem.  We noticed that they check everywhere and make a note in a book to say that they have been.  We always hide when we hear them coming in as we don’t want to scare them, as although they know about us, they haven’t actually met us. Perhaps one of these days…………..!

We love to sit in the place called the Quiet area, or the Lady Chapel.  We would love to light a candle but daren’t do that as we think it wouldn’t be safe.  So we sit together and think about all the people who come to this place, our home, who like to sit quietly here, light a candle and say a few quiet words.  They must really be missing it but hope that they know that we are keeping everything safe until they are able to return.

We love this place.  It is our home and we once heard someone call it a sanctuary.  Perhaps soon, whatever it is that is troubling the world outside will sort itself and everyone will be able to come back. We we see all our Little Dragon friends again and we can all light lots of candles to show how glad we are.

Best wishes from we three:  – George,     Uncle Sam   and Idris. We know that Val would write, ‘Every good wish, Val’

April 2020

  From the Dragons’ Den

Some years are more memorable than others!  For different reasons we may remember certain years – the date, the time, the place and what happened to make it so memorable.  I can vividly remember the year and day of my ninth birthday; can visualise the light at the top of the stairs when my mum brought my birthday cards up to the bedroom that I shared with my sister, and can still recall a couple of my birthday cards. I don’t know why that particular day sticks in my mind but I can still conjure up the feeling of happiness on that day, at that time.

I wonder whether 2020 will stick in our minds.  The ‘year of the virus!’  The year when people stopped shaking hands but, hopefully, didn’t stop smiling at each other, didn’t stop chatting with one another; didn’t stop caring about one another.  This was the time when people actually exchanged blows in a supermarket over a pack, or several packs, of toilet rolls. Hard to believe that this happened, but when people are anxious or afraid, this is what can happen.

We all feel anxious at times. We worry about getting older – will I cope? – will I be able to drive? – will I be able to remember things? -will I even remember who I am?

If, by any chance, you have any of these fears, then I issue a challenge to you. Actually, the challenge comes from George, Uncle Sam and Idris, of Little Dragons fame.  They challenge you to come along to a Little Dragons session – Tuesday, during term time, from 10:00am to 11:30am.  The sight of our Little Dragons driving up and down the aisle; sticking shapes, or better still, brightly shining glitter; waving a paint brush vaguely in the direction of a piece of paper, will maybe bring all kinds of memories back to you, perhaps freshening up your own childhood memories or activities enjoyed many moons ago and may also bring pleasure to you  an otherwise dull day.  (We also have coffee and tea to hand!)

!                                                                

We look forward to seeing you.                                         Every good wish, Val

Best wishes from we three:  – George,     Uncle Sam   and Idris.