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.

March 2020

Little Dragons

A favourite song at Little Dragons is, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!’ We clap hands, stamp feet, nod heads, stand up – sit down, stand up and turn around’, although I must say that the last two are usually only carried out by myself, the Little Dragons, and maybe a couple of Senior Dragons.  It is noted that some Senior Dragons and most Carers remain seated – cowards!  It must be admitted that they continue to sing, which is perhaps a good idea as those of us who are leaping up and down don’t always have enough breath left to utter any sounds.

I find it interesting that, in this life (and not talking about Little Dragon sessions now), some people find joining in very hard.  They may hold back on the periphery of a group because they feel unable to join in, perhaps because they lack confidence or feel that others may accuse them of being pushy, or maybe they just don’t want to be part of a group and prefer to be watchers from the side-lines.

Whoever we are and whatever our preferences, I am certain that there is always some joy to be found in each day either alone or in a group situation, even if sometimes we have to search very hard to find it.  Yesterday, as I popped out to put the mop and bucket in the garage – yes, I do occasionally hurl a mop round the kitchen floor – I spotted a small bunch of crocuses, gleaming gold in an otherwise dull day.  The sight of them lifted my spirits and filled me with joy. A small instance but proof that joy is there if we are ready to see it. 

Each week at Little Dragons we experience joy in observing our little people going about their busy lives.  It’s not always as easy to find joy on other days – but it can be done if we try hard.

As it may have said in your School Report.  ‘Must try harder!’    Go on! You’re worth it!

Every good wish, Val

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

Feb 2020

  From the Dragons’ Den

George writing:     Busy, busy, busy!  Uncle Sam, Idris and myself have been so very, very busy during the past weeks.  All the Senior Dragons have very involved in doing things in church, all helping each other to keep things moving as they should over Christmas and something called The New Year, organising Services, parties and starting the new term at Little Dragons, so we three have had to keep our eye on things.

From our secret spy spot, we have seen lots of people come into church and many of them have lit candles and had a quiet little sit down near the candles; some have just had a walk round and seem to have enjoyed the quietness.  We heard one lady say how peaceful it felt just to sit for a few minutes quietly on one of the wooden seats. 

We have also heard lots of wonderful singing; some of it from lots of people sitting on the wooden seats and some from the bunch known as the choir.  They have all been quite sad for a few weeks but have really worked at their singing and we heard them saying that they wanted to do really well – for Jack!   They are working hard, practising lots of songs, probably to keep themselves cheerful and to have some songs ready for the things they call Services.

All in all, everyone seems to be really busy keeping the church nice and comfortable for anyone who comes in.  We keep hearing them say, ‘Won’t it be nice when we have appointed!’ ….. whatever that might mean!

In the meantime, we three, will continue to keep our eye on things.  This is a pretty special place to be and we feel very lucky to be part of this St. George’s place.

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

PS.  Val asks us to send good wishes to everyone.

January 2020

From the Dragons’ Den

Here we are again.  We have enjoyed the Christmas Tree Festival,

Christingle, Service of Lessons and Carols, Crib Service, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when we sang and were glad of the Good News of the birth of a special baby.

Here we are in a New Year, 2020. In the past year we have had several special babies who are growing into Little Dragons – in the best sense of the word.  We love to see these very tiny babes growing week by week as they come along to our sessions.  It will seem as quick as the flash of an eye until they are sitting up, joining in the singing using their own special language, crawling then toddling up and down the central aisle or the West End Room and Children’s Corner.  Quite unsettling for we Senior Dragons if we stop to count how many babies we have helped to nurture from 0 to almost 5. It gives one quite a shock when we realise that some of our first Little Dragons are now sixteen years of age.  

Thus, time passes and we look forward to a wonderful, happy and fulfilling New Year – and – God willing – the appointment of a new Rector to keep us all in order!  Now, there’s a thought!

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.

Nov 2019

From the Dragons’ Den

November already, with smell of woodsmoke in the air. Where did Autumn go, where did Summer go?  The months rush by so quickly and here we are again half-way through the Autumn term and thinking ahead to Christmas.  The older members of our Little Dragons seem to have grown enormously and have already registered for primary school next year.  All the babes-in-arms have suddenly turned into crawlers and toddlers  —   and all the Senior Dragons are wondering how long their knees will hold up.

A noisy morning today: a sudden rush of little boys who all seemed to want the same fire engine! How hard it is to learn to share and take one’s turn!  It isn’t an easy task, but eventually realisation comes and ‘turn and turn about’ becomes the order of the day – hopefully!  Although one does meet adults at times who have never learned the very valuable art of sharing with others. We won’t examine this further – best to draw a veil over it rather that dig deeper.

A reminder of Harvest Celebrations in our craft today involving making scarecrows from tubes of paper plus head, arms and legs.  We had our very own scarecrow to oversee the activity and she/he/it looked to be very happy watching our little people busy about their tasks with varying levels of concentration.  

After such a busy morning I know several Senior Dragons who will be nodding off in the chair during the afternoon.  Sweet dreams!

P.S.     Best wishes, George,

   Uncle Sam 

and Idris.

October 2019

  From the Dragons’ Den

One of our Little Dragons, who has recently decided that to sit down at story time is a good idea, amused us greatly recently by initiating lots of conversations with Senior Dragons. He has been more inclined to join us for a short while before going for a walk round, stopping to have a look at the cars in the garage or the animals in the ark, before coming once again to sit and listen – for a brief period at least.

Suddenly, he finds that what we have to say is of great interest and listens avidly to the story and joins lustily in the singing before settling down with gusto to enjoy his fruit and drink.

At other times during our sessions he discusses with and questions we biggies about all kinds of things – those are bricks (part of the wall) and that is cement!  What is up there? – espying the ‘lantern window’ in the roof of the West End Room. It really helps us to appreciate the privileged position we are in working and playing alongside the people who attend our sessions.  Through activities and language, we are hopefully stimulating their interest and development as we share our own discoveries with them.

A lovely fishy picture developed this morning as our little people put sparkly fish, eels, whales, star fish and other exotic sea creatures onto a ‘sea’ background.  Lots of conversation ensued re the various fishy items and all concerned were quite thrilled with the final outcome. Mind you, the sea looked a bit rough in places, perhaps being affected by a recent storm.

Happy days!                              

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

September 2019

  From the Dragons’ Den

September already and I realise that we have lived here in Pontesbury, in the same house, for almost fifty years.  We moved here on 31st August 1970 and we truly feel that it is one of the best things we have ever done.  We still have many connections with our Lancashire (Greater Manchester now) roots, but our life here has been so blessed and we love it still.

Life’s experiences make you the person you are and I like to think that what we absorb in early years affects our way of life, our choices, our successes and our failures although we can’t always trace or remember the path we have followed.

Sometimes, though, there is a flash of memory that leaps into the mind and one realises where and when a particular aspect of one’s character came from and how it was fed and nurtured. Memories: – some happy, some perhaps less so, but nonetheless, happenings that shaped the people we have become.

So, it is with our Little Dragons.  I always hope that their experience as they play, listen, share and grow at our group will leave them with happy flashes of memory when they are adults, even when they are perhaps pensioners.  (Who invented that word? – quite depressing!)

I hope that the beginnings of learning to share, helping to tidy things away, sitting quietly to listen and, very importantly, to enjoy singing lustily, will help to shape the lives and the happy memories for these little people who come along to each session. 

They will, no doubt, forget all about us, the leaders, but may remember some of the things we did and may be shaped somewhat by the good things that we shared.

May their memories be happy ones.

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

P.S.     Best wishes, George,     Uncle Sam  and Idris.

August 2019

  From the Dragons’ Den

Little Dragons Summer Holiday: “We’re all going on a Summer Holiday, no more working for a week or two. Fun and laughter on our summer holiday. No more worries for me or you, for a week or two|” or so the song goes.

All the Little Dragon toys are packed away for a few weeks and the Big Dragons are taking a well-earned rest – for a week or two.

In 6 weeks, we will all meet up again, minus those who have commenced full time education. All the returnees will have grown tremendously and everything will seem clean and new as, refreshed, we will continue as if we have never been away.

Life is funny, isn’t it.  Changes occur: we may move house, change jobs, retire from full-time employment (oh, the joy!)  and we feel that we will never get used to the new situation. 

However, as with our Little Dragons, we absorb the changes, put aside what happened a few weeks or months ago, and within a fairly short time, feel that life has always been just like this, our everyday life, our everyday tasks. 

Some would say that life can get boring, always doing the same things, soon getting used to changes that occur.  Well, come and try a couple of weeks with us at LDs.  Never boring, always joy to be had, smiles to be shared, lots of singing and laughter.  We love it!

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

P.S.     Best wishes, George,     Uncle Sam  and Idris.

July 2019

  From the Dragons’ Den

George & Idris Reporting: Oh, we had a great time a few days ago.  Once again, we managed a trip in Val’s bag.  We didn’t know where she was going or what she was going to do, but we heard her laughing with Senior Dragon, Marion, and we could tell they were going to have some fun, so we decided to tag along.  Uncle Sam was having a little sleep so we didn’t bother to waken him, although we knew he would be rather cross when he found out.

We aren’t sure where we went with Val and Marion but we travelled in a thing called a car.  We called somewhere and another person, called Jo, climbed in.  She didn’t notice us as we sat well down inside the bag.

When we arrived where we were going, Val and Marion put some big black things called wellingtons on and followed the Jo lady into a dark building.  Then they walked out at the other end and, there we were somewhere very green.  We know what green is because we used to have another dragon, called Scooby, who was green.  He was very noisy and used to sing a song, called, ‘Wild Thing!’ so he wasn’t allowed to stay at Little Dragons because he used to sing very loudly during Storytime.

Well, this green place had two things called ‘horses’ in it.  They were busy eating the green grass but when they saw Jo and our Dragon ladies, they came over to us. They were called Star and Emmie and they were very, very big.   Marion and Val did a lot of giggling as they put some straps on Star and Emmy’s heads and showed them the way to walk, back into the big, dark building.

They put Star and Emmy into two little rooms that had lots of strawy stuff on the floor and then the Jo lady got something called a syringe and first she put it into Emmy’s mouth. Val and Marion had to keep hold of Emmy because she didn’t like the syringe. She tossed her head high up into the air just like Uncle Sam does when he is cross, and our two Big Dragons had to really hold on or else they would have flown up into the air.  There was a lot of noise because they were laughing so much.  Next, Jo put the syringe into Star’s mouth.  Marion and Val held on to her straps tightly although she was much calmer than Emmy and didn’t make a fuss.

I’ll tell you what, we almost fell out of Val’s bag because we were laughing so much.  We imagined our Senior Dragons flying through the air.  We had a great time.  Perhaps, if we are very, very good, we will be able to go again because we have heard that they are going again to work with Star and Emmy.  Great fun! 

P.S.        Best wishes, George,      and Idris.

June 2019

  From the Dragons’ Den

It was almost sunny the other day.  After two weeks of glorious weather, it suddenly turned cold and we all shivered in our shoes and hastily got out the jumpers and anoraks which we had hopefully stored away.  I am not a cold-weather person, feeling the cold enormously.  I remember with fondness the Jack Frost pictures on the windows when, as a child, I got out of bed in the morning.  I also remember my cold feet and hands with rather less than fondness!  I was not keen on the blue hue that shone forth.  Perhaps that is why blue is not my favourite colour – too many unwelcome memories associated with it. 

However, now it is June – June is busting out all over – or so the song from ‘Oklahoma’ reminds us.  This year there has been am explosion of blossom on the trees, a timely reminder of better days to come; a profusion of tiny flowers that sparkle into view whatever the day’s weather brings.

Sometimes, quite whimsically, we refer to young children as blossoms and we can see the reason for this when we view our little people as they wind and weave their way around during Little Dragon sessions.  They go this way and that, bending and reaching, as blossoms on the tree. Occasionally, as with the beauty on the trees, a change means that the blossom, be it flower or child, falls and is dashed to the ground.  Probably this is the end of the journey for the tree blossom but for our blossoming Little Dragon it is more often a way of learning how to manage limbs and objects that can seem unruly or obtrusive. 

Of course, as age advances, and we view with dismay the passing years, we once again become aware of limbs and objects that don’t obey the rules; that don’t bend with the wind and return to an acceptable position. Despite this we can still view the beauty in our natural world and give thanks for all the good gift around us.

                                                                  With every good wish, Val Butterworth.

P.S.        Best wishes, George, Uncle Sam  and Idris.