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.

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