Posted in Adventures with Alfie and Millie

Adventures with Alfie and Millie – taking the twins to town.


Adventures with Alfie and Millie

We took the twins to town today! Not that they are actually twins, but as almost every person we meet asks us if they are twins, we are nearing the point where we will just say yes and get on with it. The lady of the house always wanted twins anyway.

The truth is Alfie is three days older than Millie but they are just so close and incredibly wonderful company for each other. Big sister Mia is now in school full time and baby sister Lois is still in need of mum’s care… so it’s just the two of them.

Alfie stayed overnight, so he was waiting patiently for Millie to arrive after her mum dropped Mia off at school. He had already given his approval to the lady of the house’s new project – the moving of the nursery to upstairs; maybe the name will change now to The Grandkids Room. It was Bes’s room but she has now moved out, so the kids are moving in!

We decided to take Alfie and Millie to town by train; their excitement was tangible after we had told them.

Millie was running around shouting ‘Choo, choo… we’re going on the train!’ Alfie soon joined it. It’s amazing the way they copy each other in so many ways.

Somehow they managed to fit in time to watch Snow White for the 497th time, as us old ones were getting ready. I watched it with them for a while, turning the volume of the surround sound system to maximum and scaring them half to death at the scene where Snow White runs away from the huntsman.  They adore that and Millie always has a mock panic attack at this point!!

I must say though considering the film was made in the 1930s it is a complete masterpiece of cinema.

We made our way to the station and the excitement mounted. Sadly no ‘Choo, choo’ arrived just an old diesel multiple unit. (Note to self – take the little darlings to Norchard as soon as possible).

They loved the journey in, amusing all the other passengers as they knelt together looking out of the window and gave a running commentary of the whole journey.

photo 1Our time in town was memorable and a great reminder that even an ordinary day can be a special time if you just look around and appreciate what’s happening.

They walked a couple of miles for sure, without complaining once! Many people commented when they walked hand in hand down the pedestrianised areas.

I had to take a detour when Alfie yelled ‘Rog I want a wee!’ Fortunately Burger King was close at hand and luckily the first guy I asked gave me the code for the loo door. If he hadn’t I would have been one burger worse off or Alfie would have enjoyed town in wet trousers.

Before too long, they were enjoying running round Laura Ashley diving on the neatly arranged cushions on the expensive sofas. The lady of the house was looking at me anxiously, gesturing the keep the kids still as she tried to pay for a new lampshade for the kids’ room. We all had fun. I was tempted more than once to join them and run around and dive into the cushions. Alfie and Millie would have loved it but I am not sure the lady of the house would have agreed with them. I would have been grounded for a week!

It was Millie next who asked for a ‘wee’ and as there are no public conveniences in Laura Ashley, a look of panic appeared on my good lady’s face. Burger King was quite a way away! The kind assistant came to the rescue and offered the use of theirs. She had to phone the manager for permission and for the door to be opened and Millie’s dancing became even more urgent – but all was well. When the lady of the house eventually got back to the shop floor, Alfie smiled and announce his need to go again. The shop manager smiled but rolled her eyes and the procedure was repeated. While she was gone Millie and I dived on some cushions. When the manager came back with Alfie and the good lady, she looked over at me and I could see in her eyes that she was thinking ‘what about you old timer?’ I reassured her that I still had full control of my bladder and would not need to use her conveniences, but thanked her for caring thoughts and as we walked away I made a note to return my donation form for Help the Aged.

In St David’ Centre we passed a bus which Alfie and Millie just had to go on! How could we refuse!! Alfie HAD to be the driver!

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securedownload6We strolled down to the market next to see the fish staring out from the counter in Ashton’s, my favourite shop in the world, but we had bought the little darlings a Welsh cake each from inside the market and their attention was distracted. I gazed lovingly at the cockles as we passed by, but I wasn’t due any pocket money… I looked at the lady of the house, who shook her head slowly.

Next time maybe?

We made our way to Howells for lunch; at least it used to be called Howells and we will always call it by that name. It has an amazing restaurant for kids, unusual really because it’s a bit of a toff’s shop with loads of expensive stuff, but the restaurant has a large playing area for kids, kitted out with loads of toys and tables and a TV which showed Peppa Pig non stop!

Alfie and Millie were in heaven.

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We enjoyed a snack while the two little ‘uns enjoyed a special kids meal!

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From here we walked quietly down to John Lewis with Alfie and Millie holding hands almost all the way there – it looked so very cute and drew numerous comments from many of our fellow pedestrians.

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On the way we called into Clogau so the lady of the house could be shown how to do her new watch up… don’t ask!

We we got to John Lewis we had great fun on the escalators, Alfie and Millie were amazed how high they were, I guess to their little eyes they were! We had great fun in this shop. The kids found an old basket and after a bit of tugging and pulling, I decided they need one each and it wasn’t long before the whole department was in stitches and these two, like an old married couple were waking around filling their baskets with a range of goods. Alfie took great delight in advising Millie what she should have in hers.

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We made our way back to the station for the return journey. Still no ‘Choo, choo’, just another old turquoise diesel. While we were waiting the little ones wasted no time in finding fun things to do.

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The amount of walking and playing they had done, meant two very tired children a much quieter return trip, but still loads of fun and loads of smiles and from all the other passengers.

As we walked up our Close after leaving the train, we noticed an unusual notice on the Community Notice Board, I was wondering if Belle was in need of a blessing? If not Belle maybe Ellie or Toby?

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When we got home Millie asked if she could watch Snow White (498th viewing) but by the end of the opening credits both were breathing heavily, eyes closed and fast asleep.

It was just an ordinary trip to town, made special by two wonderful little people who call us Nanna and Grampy or in Alfie’s case Nanna and Rog.

We are so grateful for the time we spend with them – and so blessed to have them.

Happy days!

Posted in Family

Father of the Bride Speech – 6th September 2014

Ramblings of a retired teacher

For Bethany… as she marries Alex

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I was 42 years old when we decided to have Bethany. Many people at the time told us we were mad. We were determined, but first we thought it would be the right thing to do to discuss it with our older children Kate and Gareth, who were 15 and 14 at the time and instead of any embarrassment, their response was immediately favourable.

My dad and mum were among those who doubted not because they thought it was a bad idea but because they were old, and they were afraid that they would never see her grow up. Thankfully they did and though they didn’t quite make it to today they loved Bethany totally and were immensely proud of her. Also missing today is her Nanna Muz who has advanced dementia and is very frail. She too would have been immensely proud of you…

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Posted in Family

Wedding sermon for Bethany and Alex.

For Bethany and Alex on your wedding day.

6th September 2014

This sermon was delivered during the wedding of my daughter Bethany to Alex Davies at Bethesda Chapel in Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales UK.

I have had many adventures in my life…

  • I have chased the Northern Lights across Iceland and Northern Norway.
  • Several years ago I drove down the Ice Highway in the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to Banff
  • In South Africa, I took part in an evening elephant Safari and spent time on a game reserve and sat at the top of Table Mountain.
  • I have visited Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island
  • I’ve slept in a simple house on a mountainside in Lesotho with the most beautiful family, where I was accepted as one of their own.
  • I have travelled overnight on a train from Macedonia to Kosovo and watched a football match with the locals.

…but the greatest adventure on my life began on the day I married your mum. It’s an adventure that has been going on for almost 39 years and every day is better than the day before.

Bethany and Alex you are about to start out on this great adventure yourselves and on this your wedding day I want to give you some advice to help you enjoy this great adventure to the full.

Travelling companions

Before any adventure, I always think about my travelling companions. I have never travelled alone – some people do – but the thought of having someone with you, for help during tough times, or to appreciate amazing sights is a must for me.

I notice from your order of service that you recognise that God brought you two together. I have no doubt that is true. Neither of you are perfect but each of you is perfect for each other. You will enjoy adventuring together. But… you are not alone…

Look around you – look at all these who in a real sense will be travelling with you, I am sure there is not one person here who has come just because you invited them – they are because they love you… they will always be with you and will extend to you the hand of friendship whenever you need it!

God gave you to each other its not an accident. Alex and Bethany, you will be travelling with God. Keep Him at the very centre of your marriage. I want you to think about the way God loves you and I want you to love one another in the same way.

Build your marriage on the rock of God’s love.

Here what God’s word says

Reading from Ephesians 5:

 

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Bible tells us God is love. What kind of love is it?

  • Unconditional love. God never says I will love you if…

Unconditional love seeks to give not to take, it puts the interests of others first. No conditions. That is the kind of love I want you both to show in your marriage.

  • Selfless love. Ephesians 5 gives great advice here in verse 22 – Wives submit to your husband as to the Lord for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Verse 25 says Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church. Did you see the Biblical advice? Bethany, you have got to love Alex enough to live for him. Alex you have got to love Bethany like Christ loved the church… you have to love her enough to die for her.

Reviews

The next thing I do then is to look up some reviews; I’m a Trip Advisor specialist – in the top 4% in the UK! It’s good to hear what other people say about where you are going. It helps you avoid the pitfalls and helps gets the best out of the journey.

In a few moments, I am going to give you away. It’s a tough thing to do, but it doesn’t mean of course that you can’t come back and call round. Your immediate family have almost 100 years of marriage experience. Be sure to use that.

Also I asked some of your friends to give a review. Here are a few. The rest you can read some other time.

Just to say that my wedding day is a fantastic memory, 48 years ago. Whenever I feel blue, I look at my ring and remember the love of family and friends on that special day in a beautiful Church in North Wales. I too, was only twenty but knew how much I loved the man I married and treasure him more than ever now. Lots of adventures, sorrow and the love of God on the way. Be ready to be flexible and not to argue -just to love and share.

xxx

For us marriage is about having a unique bond with that one other person, the only person that you will fully share everything with. The best thing about marriage to us is keeping each other going so that you can fulfil the dream you otherwise would not have been brave enough to attempt. To be excited together in the good times & to be the encouragement when what you’re doing becomes a challenge. The day you get married truly is just the beginning….it’s a love that never grows tired or is completely finished finding ways to fully express itself….it will always baffle you how it has the ability to keep getting more & more amazing. Marriage is definitely a gift to be treasured.

R & P

Marriage is being able to share your life journey with your very best friend. It is not having to say goodbye every night but simply ‘goodnight’ and waking up to face each new day together. Marriage is a journey of learning how to make someone else happy and in that journey finding true joy.  

Marriage has God written all over it as when He is central it works- it just works!

 

P & J

Although I’ve only been married a few months, marriage has come to mean two things to me. First, marriage is grace. The kind of grace that comes from waves of unconditional love and forgiveness shown daily to one another- the kind of grace that Jesus so perfectly displays.

Second, marriage is joy. Embarking on marriage, and doing life together, has been so fun, humorous and overwhelmingly joy-filled. My prayer is that Bethany and Alex will experience endless grace, joy and love throughout their wonderful marriage! “

R & C

xx

“Marriage to us is a wonderful gift from God to share with the one person you love. It is a place to put God first and watch him guide and provide for all of life’s ups and downs. It is a place to be best friends, to bear one another’s burdens, to love, laugh and make memories. To go on a lifelong adventure and build a family. It is a place to grow old together. After our relationship personally with God, this is the most important relationship we will ever have.”

N & S

xxx

For me, the commitment of marriage meant that we were making a serious promise to each other in front of family and friends – and above all, God. We committed to becoming a team, navigating through life together… – to support, to love and to encourage each other, wherever life took us. Little did we know back then, how important being a team would become. Although the last 13 years have brought some incredible memories, there have been times when challenges arose that meant we had to work hard at making our little team stronger. And through it all – and despite ALL of our flaws, I still choose him and he still chooses me.

J & K    xx

Marriage is about turning the I into we, it’s give and take, of enjoying each other’s company, without even speaking, make sure you have lots of fun and laughter, and make sure God is at the centre xx

D & J

xx

Loving and enjoying each other’s company everyday and not being embarrassed to walk around the house with tissue shoved up your nose when it’s running!! Xxxx

E & J

xx

Packing a suitcase

There is always great excitement when you start packing for an adventure, my old mum used to start packing months before any trip began. Of course, different adventures call for different clothes. Wearing a swimsuit chasing the Northern Lights inside the Arctic Circle is not recommended; neither is wearing thermals underwear looking at the treasures of Florence in mid summer!

Packing a suitcase is an important part of your adventure. You need to wear suitable clothes. As far as marriage is concerned, The Bible gives us a good description of the clothes we need to wear.

Reading from Colossians Chapter 3

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

These clothes Paul invites us to put on are not made of natural fibres. They are woven of spiritual stuff. Try as you might in your own power to create them and you will fail, you need God to create them. Compassion, humility, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, and love — these don’t come naturally. They are gifts God gives us when we pray for them. Make sure you both clothe yourselves with these great qualities throughout your married life.

Finally… A Guidebook

One of the most important things to take with you is a guidebook. I have a shelf full at home. It’s usually the last thing I pack. A good guidebook, will tell you just about all you need to know about the place where you are going. It tells you the things you must do, the places you must see and the things to avoid. The Bible is God’s guidebook for marriage. Take God’s word with you as you begin this great adventure together and keep it with you all the way through!!

It’s the perfect guidebook because marriage is God’s idea. He wants it to succeed. God is committed to your marriage.

Listen to these words from the very early pages of The Bible

Reading from Genesis 2

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

 

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 

This lovely passage highlights three important principles for a happy marriage.

For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother…. – It’s so exciting! You are setting up a new family, a new home. It’s the first principle.

…. and shall be united to his wife. – principle 2 permanence. The KJV & Hebrew – translate the word united as the word ‘cleave’ Cleave means to be bonded – bonded, glued or stuck together for ever

Soon Nathan will be saying these words to you…. ‘What God has joined together let no man separate – EVER!

….and they shall become one flesh. – principle 3 speaks of unity. This is a mystery. You will still be two individuals, yet you will be as one. This takes time; it is built up like a tapestry, stitch by stitch. Remember what God said about Eve. She was a helper ‘suitable’ for Adam.

Jean is for me.

I believe God has brought you two together because you were meant for each other. Alex you will find everything you don’t have Bethany will, everything she needs, you possess. I couldn’t be the person God wants me to be without Jean by my side.

And remember if marriage is God’s idea, He’ll always be close at hand helping you make it succeed. When problems and difficulties arise, as they will, turn to God first.

God has an amazing track record of working with fallible human beings and of enabling them to achieve the most wonderful things.

Remember at the outset. Being happy in marriage is not so much finding the right person; it’s being the right person.

Reading from Isaiah chapter 43.

This is what the Lord says—

    

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; 
 I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you 
and when you pass through the rivers, 
 they will not sweep over you. 
When you walk through the fire, 
 you will not be burned.

For I am the Lord your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; 


 

You are precious and honoured in my sight, because I love you.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. 
   

When I read these verses written over three thousand years ago, four phrases stood out… Remember that these words were written to God’s people and they were written for you as you start this great adventure today!.

Remember God says to you both on your wedding day…

You are mine. I will be with you. You are precious. I love you…

The Bible is God’s Guidebook to a happy marriage. Both sets of parents would now like to present you with a Family Bible to help you on your way as you live out this great adventure. Take it, read it and treasure it.

As you begin this great adventure today and as you make your marriage vows remember this carefully…

You don’t know what the future holds… but you know who holds the future.

Trust Him always.

Posted in Family

Father of the Bride Speech – 6th September 2014

For Bethany… as she marries Alex

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I was 42 years old when we decided to have Bethany. Many people at the time told us we were mad. We were determined, but first we thought it would be the right thing to do to discuss it with our older children Kate and Gareth, who were 15 and 14 at the time and instead of any embarrassment, their response was immediately favourable.

My dad and mum were among those who doubted not because they thought it was a bad idea but because they were old, and they were afraid that they would never see her grow up. Thankfully they did and though they didn’t quite make it to today they loved Bethany totally and were immensely proud of her. Also missing today is her Nanna Muz who has advanced dementia and is very frail. She too would have been immensely proud of you Bethany.

Having prayed much about it, God answered our prayers and we were blessed with a delightful little girl, one who has brought such happiness to our lives for the past 21 years.

Today 21 years later, we have had the most amazing day as we have celebrated her wedding to Alex and the start of a great new adventure for them both.

It’s been a wonderful day and as the sun sets over Cardiff as we look out through the windows of the Banqueting Hall here in Cardiff Castle, the sun is also setting on a wonderful day for us as a family and as things begin to draw to a close, Jean and I would like to say a massive thank you very much to all of you for being a part of this special day.  As the father of the bride I have the pleasure of giving the first speech.

Today is, of course, a celebration, not just of the love that has united Alex and Bethany in marriage, but also a celebration of the families that have created, moulded and influenced the lives of these two special young people.

Kate and Gareth in particular have been truly amazing with her down though the years, they have guided her, watched out for her and together with Jason and Keri, have created a wonderful bond of love, which for us as their parents is a truly incredible thing to see.

Marriage is the joining of two lives but at the same time it’s the joining together of families. Jean and I have wonderful ‘in laws’ – Rick and Jean Erikson, John and Elaine Lewis and now dear Bob and Sally Davies.

There are some people I must, of course, thank for the part they played today…

First I’d like to thank the entire staff here at Cardiff Castle.  Their experience and guidance has been wonderful and the service and the food were truly memorable and for that we are very thankful.

It’s a privilege to be here in a place so full of history.

I also want to thank those who took part in today’s service at Bethesda Chapel. Lisa, Sian and Llinos for singing and the music group for playing and making everything so special for us – Steve, Ben, Paul, Amy, Emily, Pete, Jas and John – from the bottom of our hearts thank you for all you did today to make everything so special.

I also want to thank Caroline and Cezary for reading God’s Word to us. I know how much Alex and Bethany wanted you to do this, as we did. To you both – our grateful thanks. (Thank you – Dziekuje)

When we found out we were expecting Bethany, I began writing a special diary. I called it my Pregnant Fathers Diary. I recorded every single day of Jean’s pregnancy, because I wanted Bethany to know before she came how much she was loved.

Our friend Sharon wrote a card when we found out. It said that the baby will be loved and will be a happy child. Well done Sharon, you got that spot on!

The entry dated 30th April reminded me of the day Jean was rushed from work with a threatened miscarriage. When I arrived after being called out of school, the doctor met me and said, “I’m so sorry, your wife is losing the baby!” We were both devastated but God had other ideas.

Over the following weeks, our little baby held on. For the following months Jean had to take great care to protect that little unborn treasure.

Great joy accompanied her arrival into our family. We named her Bethany Joy – her middle name in honour of her special aunty.

In many ways Bethany had a unique upbringing. In those days we were candidates for the world’s worst parents. We were youth leaders at the time and would often take her to our youth nights, turn the old coffee tables upside down and make a makeshift cot with a pile of coats. Not the best thing maybe but Bethany certainly grew up with the ability to be very adaptable and with a wonderful group of friends across the generations. She has never been an ounce of trouble!

Those adventures I spoke of in church have mostly included Bethany. She’s done some quite remarkable things in her 21 years. As we travelled through the Rockies in Canada, I got a message that my dear father had passed away, I was so grateful for the support of Jean and Bethany at this sad time.

On a remote mountainside in Lesotho, she watched, without batting an eyelid, a scrawny old chicken being caught, killed, gutted a boiled before calmly eating it with papa and various strange looking vegetables! Poor Kate and Gaz had to be happy with France, France and France again!!!

As she grew up and demands on my time in school and church began to take up much of my time. Bethany and I decided to keep some special time in the week to spend as father and daughter together. We called these our special evenings and we went out for cup of coffee down the Bay or maybe for an exciting meal in The Hungry Horse, if my mum got us a voucher, or IKEA. They were simple, but very special times for us both. On Wednesday this week we had another ‘Wednesday’ – just for all times sake. It was special, just like all the other times.

Bethany has grown from a beautiful child into an incredibly beautiful woman and I must admit the thought of giving her away should have bothered me more than a bit. The fact that it hasn’t is in no small way due to Alex. Jean and I love Alex – he is our perfect choice for Bethany. Bob and Sally, you can be immensely proud today of the young man you have raised.

Alex today I formally welcome you into The Newberry family – let me tell you it’s a select group of people. The reality is though, of course, that you have been a special part of our family for the past five or so years.

Bob and Sally you both are among the kindest, warmest, and friendliest people Jean and I know. And as you formally welcome Bethany into your family, I know you will take the best care of my little girl.

Bes and Alex you have so much to look forward to. A lovely home all ready for you both to move into. You now have a great responsibility to show to others the kind of love which has been shown to you both as you celebrate your marriage and the start of your great adventure.

Today we have achieved something very special; so many people have worked so incredibly hard to make today happen.

Boo, I have watched you carefully as you have given everything to help make Bethany’s dreams come true. Your vision, your commitment and your totally selfless giving are just so incredible. In many ways Bethany and Alex’s day is your day.

I love you and I thank you so very much.

Kate, the send off you gave Bes last week was amazing, Keri your work with the invitations, order of service and the things we can take with us are just absolutely incredible and I use my words carefully… INCREDIBLE. Behind them, of course two very special men who supported and encouraged them, so to Gaz and Jason our grateful thanks.

As a family we have been totally surrounded with love, not just today but in over the past months. We are humbled.

My greatest wish for the two of you now is that through the years your love for each other will so deepen and grow, that years from now you will look back on this day, your wedding day, as the day you loved each other the least.

It is written: when children find true love, parents find true joy.

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Today Jean and I found true joy!