Posted in Bear stories, Stories for friends, Stories for my Grandkids

The Old Bear

(For Jemima)

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Chapter 1

The old bear 

Day after day, month after month year after year the old bear sat in the cupboard at the top of the stairs. He shared the cupboard with some other old bears and some old ornaments. The shelf he sat on was a bit like an old people’s home for bears.

They just sat there… all day… every day. They had run out of things to say many years ago, but they liked each other’s company. Most days were the same. They all just sat on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs.

The old man and his wife, who lived in the house, would often walk past the cupboard, but these days they hardly ever stopped to look in and say hello.

Some days, and these were the days the old bear liked best, some children came to visit and the house was filled with lots of giggling and laughing and the young ones would run past the cupboard playing their childhood games of hide and seek or making dens from loads of blankets and pillows. The old bear loved the sound of the children’s laughter and excited voices, but he was sad that the children never stopped to look in to see him sitting on the shelf in the cupboard on top of the stairs.

The old bear loved company. He was created – bears are not born, they are created – a very long time ago, when the old man who owned him was a very little baby. He was a Christmas present. The old bear loved being a Christmas present, it made him feel special. The old bear was indeed a very special bear. His owner had loved him very, very much for many, many years.  All his beautiful fur had been ‘loved’ off. He no longer looked as beautiful as he used to, but he was still a very special old bear. He had been taken to bed for many years, he had been taken on holiday, he had been played with and thrown about but he always knew that he was loved.

But, there was one thing, one very big thing, that made the old bear very sad. It wasn’t that his fur had all been ‘loved’ off, that was a special thing and sitting with his friends on the shelf in the cupboard at the top of the stairs kept him warm, even in the winter. Neither was it the fact that the old bear had never been given a name. He often used to think about what name he would like to be called, but usually he was happy just to be called the old bear.

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It wasn’t even the fact that his music box had been removed. That had happened many years before and the old bear could hardly remember the tune, although he did remember that the little boy’s mother used to call it Greensleeves. The old bear though that Greensleeves was a silly name for a piece of music, although he liked green things usually!

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Nor was it even the fact that he had lost one leg. It was very painful when it happened, but that too, was a long time ago.

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What made the old bear really, really sad was that he could not see. When he was created, he had two bright shiny eyes made of glass. He loved to look at the face of his owner – the little boy who had loved him so much – he loved to look at all the other toys in the bedroom. Sometimes the little boy would take him outside into the garden and then the old bear would love to look at the beautiful blue sky and clouds, the birds flying in the sky and the lovely things around him, the flowers and vegetables that the little boy’s father used to grow in his garden.

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But now, the old bear didn’t have any eyes. He could no longer see. He lived in a world of darkness. If you close your eyes and look around that’s just what it was like for the old bear.

He lost his eyes a long time ago. While he was sitting on his shelf he would try to remember what the little boy who loved him was like.

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He knew the little boy was now an old man and he wondered if he still had the same face. He would feel his fur and remember how soft and fluffy he used to be and he worried, nearly every day, that now he looked a bit scruffy that he wouldn’t be loved so much.

But one glorious day, one very happy day, something happened. It was a day that the old bear would never forget.

It was Christmas Day, quite early in the morning and the old man opened the door of the cupboard at the top of the stairs and took him out. He was held for a while and although the old bear could not see, he felt sure the old man had a smile on his face and looked at him with a lot of love.

He was put into a bag and he hoped he was being taken somewhere very special. After a lot of moving around, the old bear was placed on the floor in the same bag. The old bear had no idea where he was, but he could hear people, a lot of people, all laughing and wishing each other a “Happy Christmas’. Then he heard some songs being sung. Soon after, he heard the voice of the old man talking. He was telling the people about the best Christmas present he had ever had and suddenly he picked the bag up and the old bear was taken out and held up. Was this true? Was he – the old bear – the best Christmas present ever? Even though he had no eyes, he felt a little tear trickle down his left cheek. He felt so happy.

If the old bear had still had his eyes, he would have noticed small girl, who was sitting, watching. This little girl had the face of an angel and her eyes were wide open as she looked at the scruffy old bear. Going through her mind was a special plan… a very special plan indeed.

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Chapter 2

The old bear finds a new friend

Posted in Thanks for a life

David Kingsley Thomas

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A Celebration of the Life of

DAVID KINGSLEY THOMAS

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1938 – 2017

Friday 18th August 2017 at Bethesda Chapel, Dinas Powys 12:30pm

Entrance  –  Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come into your presence in the name of your Son, our Saviour, The Lord Jesus Christ.  In all our dealings we acknowledge you as Sovereign Lord. Be with us here this morning to comfort, to guide our thoughts and to help us as we honour the memory of this good man. Without you, we have nothing to hope for; with you we have nothing to fear. Speak to us we pray, and lift us from anxiety and sadness to the light and peace of your presence.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

On behalf of  Margaret, Richard, Nicola and their families, I welcome you here this afternoon. You will never know how much your presence  is appreciated. Thank you.

David Thomas was a lovely man. He was kind, thoughtful and was never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. We are here this afternoon to celebrate his wonderful life. David was a man who loved and was loved, by his family, his circle of friends and indeed all who knew him.

He was born one of four children – he had two brothers and one sister-  in Pontypridd in 1938, although the family home was in Merthyr. He was born very early and was tiny – His family would often tease hime after he had grown and told him that he would have fitted into a pint pot!

As a tribute to the doctor who delivered him safely,  he was given the name Kingsley. His health wasn’t good and indeed he suffered with asthma and chest problems all his life. Yet, David was strong and despite his health problems, he went on to outlive all his siblings.

In his childhood to help with his health problems, he attended Jones West Monmouth School as a boarder – a school famous for educating Sir Anthony Hopkins and five past or current Welsh international rugby players including Terry Cobner, Graham Price and even one England International Mako Vinupola.

The motto of the school is, Believe, Achieve, Succeed, and for David that meant  – in true valleys boy fashion – working hard to provide for the family that you love and seeing your wife and children succeed in life, supported by his love and hard work. Both Richard and Nicola went on to achieve degrees at University and David always supported them in the life choices they made.

When David and Margaret started courting he was working as a chemist in Dow Corning and Margaret was back in Merthyr. In the pre-mobile phone days that meant Margaret finding a call box near home and David finding one in Cardiff. Their coordination skills were first class!

David’s main concern in his life was that he was providing a loving home for his wife and family. That, he certainly did – and now he is at rest and that is hard for us to deal with

In the difficult times of life, like this, I often find that human words often fall short of what we would like them to say.  But it is then that the Bible speaks to us with power and healing if we will but listen.  These words come across nearly thirty centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance.  But if we will listen, the Bible speaks them to each one of us.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Those verses from The Bible tell us that death is not an unforeseen accident.  It is not something left out of the purpose of our Creator.   It is something well planned and necessary in the sight of God. I believe God knew David needed to rest.  It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.

David left us peacefully on 16th July 2017 and we are here because of his influence on our lives.  For you Margaret, Richard and Nicola – you are his wife and children and your lives were intertwined with his for many years. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed David’s at different times and different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with David, all of our lives have been touched by David’s.  We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he left behind.

Hymn – How Great Thou Art

 

Scripture Reading – Edward Thomas – Psalm 23

 

Family thoughts

Richard Thomas

India Clatworthy

Nicola Clatworthy

 

 

 Message of comfort and hope

Mr Roger Newberry

There are places in Scripture that are powerful, so deep, that to read them is to experience them. Psalm 23 is one of those places.

Psalm 23 is very personal. There are no references to “we” or “us” or “they,” but only “my” and “me” and “I” and “You.” This is David the psalmist’s testimony, his personal experience with God. It is precious to us. And what makes this a constant friend is that it covers all of life. With simple beauty, it speaks of green pastures and still waters as well as dark valleys and enemies and adversities.

But what comforts us and helps us is the psalm’s confidence. The writer really believes this about God. He has experienced God in these ways, heard His voice, followed His lead, felt His care. All these can be ours if we put our faith and trust in God!

Notice that in the first three verses, David refers to God in the third person: “The Lord is my Shepherd. He makes me lie down . . . He leads me . . . He restores my soul.”

Then, in v 4-5, David shifts, referring to Him in second person: “I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me . . . You anoint my head with oil.” And then, he closes by returning to third person: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Why does David switch from talking about God with ‘He’ to talking to God with ‘You,’ and why does it happen in v. 4? Why didn’t he just go on to say, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me’?”

May I suggest that the change “He” to the more intimate “You” happens in v. 4 precisely because it’s there he speaks of the valley he has walked. He has felt the shadows closing in. Verse 4 describes the crisis points in his life. Just the kind of situation Margaret, Richard and Nicola and their families are in as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of one who was so dear to them.

And did you notice? We’re more prone to talk about God when we are in the green pastures and more prone to talk to God when we’re in that difficult place. In the light, we are prone to wander off in pursuit of greener grass. But in the dark, we reach out to God and hold him.

David changes from comments about God to communion with God because during his valley time, he stayed ever so close to the Shepherd, never taking his eyes of Him. He had experienced God in a way there that had ushered him toward intimacy with the Almighty Shepherd.

We have a God who is closer than we think in times of crisis. My prayer this afternoon is that God will imprint His truth in your heart that you will find your confidence in Him rise above the storm clouds in your life, even as David did.

Notice also something else…

First, it’s a shadow. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Why is it only a shadow?  Because Jesus, our shepherd, has conquered death once for all. Thus, for the Christian, all that remains of death, is a shadow.

Someone once said…. Just like the shadow of a snake cannot bite you, or the shadow of a sword cannot cut you…the shadow of death does not bring fear to those who follow Jesus.

And who better to lead us through the shadow than Jesus—who himself conquered it?

Notice too, that we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We are just passing through it. We won’t be lost in it forever.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

The rod and the staff were the tools of a shepherd…and they brought great comfort to the sheep.

The shepherd would use the rod to protect the sheep from anyone or anything that would seek to do them harm. The shepherd with his rod, would tap each sheep on the head and count them at the end of each day. He wanted to make sure each sheep was accounted for. If one was missing, he would go and find it.

The staff was a long stick with a hook on the end. If a sheep would wander away and get himself in trouble, the shepherd would lift the sheep out with the hook.

David, following his shepherd God, found comfort in knowing that God would account for him and lift him out of dangerous situations.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

In this final scene of the Psalm, we see that David knows he will dwell with the LORD, his shepherd, forever.

In David’s day, kings would often throw great banquets. And at these banquets, it was customary for the guest of honour to have a huge spread of food laid out before him. He had a special chair at the table. And the king would anoint the guest of honour’s head with a special oil. He would set a cup before him and that cup would never go empty.

Do you remember how just a few verses ago, David was walking through the valley of the shadow of death? Now he is the guest of honour at a great banquet.

And David finishes by saying

Surely goodness and love with follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 

Someone once said the words, “All this, and heaven too!” That is what David is thinking. He is the guest of honour at the Lord’s table, his cup overflows, and the food is abundant.

And not only that, goodness and love will follow him forever and he will get to dwell in the house of the LORD forever. All this, and heaven too!

No wonder David penned these famous words…and there is no wonder that King David found comfort in them and I trust that our David felt that too!

Jean, my wife, shared with Margaret and I some lovely words of comfort. She had been praying for David for many months and on the day David left us, God gave her these words from Scripture:

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago… he will swallow up death for ever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. In that day they will say,

‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.

Isaiah Chapter 25

 

So, we are praying that the God of David the Psalmist became the God of David the lovely husband, father and grampy we remember this afternoon. So, as we mourn his passing, we can also give thanks for David’s life.

I believe life is a gift from God.  As we read earlier, there is a time to be born. God has made us and given us life. God blesses our lives and makes them full of experiences, people and events.  Each day is a blessing and a gift from above.

It is my belief that David was a person who was given to us by God.  We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him.

We have stored memories and experiences.  These are gifts from God.

 

But death robs us of much – never again will we have David with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile – no more of his wonderful sense of humour.

Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say.

Wonder how you will deal with it?  With those promises from the Bible.

God gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift

The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember.

That is what God wants you to do with David.

Remember him as your husband, father, father in law, grandfather  and your friend.

Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive

Remember the love that he had for family, his willingness to always work hard in order to provide for his family.

The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement. We could look through the whole world and we would find there is no one like David.

He still lives on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will always remain a member of your family or circle through the influence he has had on you and the special part he played in your lives.

Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his life.

May God bless his memory to us.

Dear family

  • I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The David that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know.

You have every reason to be proud of his life

 

  • I commend to you the love and strength of the church. This church here is a caring community of faith and can be a means of grace in the days and months to come. Margaret, this church will always be here for you and your lovely family!

 

  • I commend you to the care of Almighty God and trust that you will find in Him the strength and peace that He alone can bring.

 

Hymn:  – Ten thousand resaons

Blessing – Isaac Thomas

As you leave today please be aware that the family invite you to St Andrews Major Golf Club to enjoy some refreshments and an opportunity to share memories of dear David.

I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.

 

Exit to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major

 

 

The Committal at Cardiff and The Vale Crematorium

 

On behalf of David’s family, I would like to thank each one of you for being here today… and though today is a very difficult day the scriptures make this promise:

John 14 v 1 – 6

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

We see in this wonderful passage some great truths that quiet our hearts even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The first is that peace is promised. Notice the words “Let not you heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me”. Yes, I know that today is a day of sadness – a day of grief, a day of mourning, yet even in the midst of this we can have peace. We can have peace if we have faith. God is here. He is present. Believe in Him – Trust in Him and God will grant you his perfect peace.

The second thought of comfort is that God has prepared a place for us. Did you notice that in John 14, it says; “I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus has been preparing a place for us for two thousand years. What a place that must be. The verse tells us that it is The Father’s house and that there are many rooms. Isn’t that a comforting thought? God has prepared a place for us.

The next thought of comfort is that God has prepared a way for us to get there. Everyone wants to go to heaven, some just don’t know the way. But Jesus tells us in John 14 that, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” We are all travellers on a road called life. There are many detours and many side streets. We don’t need to be confused – we don’t need to be lost. All we need to do is follow Jesus. He will show us the way – in fact He is the way. He will lead us and He will guide us. That’s comforting.

He Is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or it can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what David would want:

Smile, open your eyes, love each other and go on.

 

Earlier I read

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on

earth, a time to be born and a time to die.
Here in this last act, in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, and since it has pleased Almighty God to take to himself the soul of our dear husband, father and friend David, we commit his body to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust: in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our frail bodies that they may be conformed to his glorious body, who died, was buried, and rose again for us.
To him be glory for ever

 Prayer

God of all grace, who in Jesus Christ our Saviour brought eternal life: we give you thanks that by his death he has destroyed the power of death and sin, and by his resurrection opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

Help us to know and believe that because He lives, those who trust in him will live also, and that neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from your love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Almighty God, strengthen those who sorrow; enable them to look to Jesus Christ for encouragement and hope, that through the Scriptures they may place their trust in the God who raised him from the dead.

Amen.

 

 

 

Benediction

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord show you His kindness and have mercy on you. May the Lord watch over you and give you peace.

Amen

 

Having committed David’s body to be cremated we now say: “Thank you David for all you have given to us in your long and loving life. 
The good you have shown us, we will show to others.

We have been remembering with love and gratitude of a life that has ended. Let us return to our own homes and to our work, enriched and inspired by these memories of David.

I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.

 

Exit: Without You!  Acker Bilk.

 

Roger Newberry -August 2017

 

 

 

Posted in Adventures with my grampy, Family

Adventures with my grampy…

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Hi, I’m Eli

I was born just over a year ago. I have a wonderful daddy and mummy and two special grandmothers and two special grandfathers. I love them a lot.

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I don’t have any brothers and sisters at the moment, but I might do in the future. I love being with my daddy and mummy every day. We live in a nice house. I have a special room, where I sleep and there is another room downstairs where I play. There is my wigwam in that room.  I love my wigwam.

 

I also love it when I get to see my grandparents. Today, my mum told me that because she was working and my daddy was working, I had to stay with my grampy. My nanna wasn’t there just my grampy, I was sad about that – I love my nanna – but I still smiled, because I always smile, all day every day.

Grampy Rog picked us up in his car and took my mum to work. I like his car its old and battered – like my daddy and mummy’s.

We were going out adventuring but the rain made it impossible… maybe next time.

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When we got to grampy’s house he let me play with the kitchen.

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I had so much fun. I love opening doors and closing them. There are three doors in the kitchen. I love playing with all the toys as well.

Grampy gave me my breakfast – I love eating food, I do it every day…

After a bit, I decided to climb the stairs, I knew grampy was watching me, so I knew I wouldn’t fall. When I was tired, I pretended to be scared and I started to cry. I know that’s the best way of being picked up, and sure thing, grampy picked me up and took me downstairs.

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After playing for a bit more Grampy tried to put me in the cot for a sleep, but I was having too much fun, so I decided to play in the cot and grampy soon picked me up and said we were going shopping to IKEA. I think I had been to IKEA before, I like that shop. We drove there in the car and on the way, I felt very sleepy and I just dropped off as we pulled into the car park.

I love going shopping with grampy, he’s the only one who knows how to push a trolley the right way.

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I don’t like looking backwards, I like to look forwards at all the people and all the nice things. I liked IKEA. After looking around we went to have some food in the restaurant. My mummy had made me my dinner she is so kind to me.

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Grampy had meatballs and chips. His face looked very happy when he was eating them.

After dinner, we went and bought a new high chair for our holidays in France. I like France, I went there when I was only six weeks old. I don’t remember much.

I like my new high chair it will be good to use it on my holidays.

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This high chair matched my top. I like it a lot!

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On the way back to my grampy’s house, I fell asleep again but when we got home, I woke up again. Grampy tried to put me in the cot again but I wanted to play, so I pretended to cry a little bit.

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It did the trick grampy soon picked me up and called me a little scamp. I like being a little scamp.

After playing with the kitchen a bit more, I went exploring to see how many of grampy’s doors I could open and close. There were loads. I love opening and closing doors.

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Soon it was time for me to go. Grampy put on his football shirt, I think he was going to watch a football match. I don’t like football yet, maybe I will when I am older.

He took me to see Nanna Boo. I love her. She was very happy to see me and I was very happy to see her… I smiled again….

Today was a lovely day and soon I would see my mummy and daddy again, I love them most of all.

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Posted in Musings

Total love

Total love

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The softness of your touch

As you sit beside me

In the quietness of the evening,

Brings a peace all its own

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The comfort of your voice

As we talk in the still, small hours

Of darkness,

Brings calm to the very depths of my soul.

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The warmth I experience

As your arms enfold me,

Drawing me closer to you,

Brings joy and contentment beyond belief.

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The total love we share

As our minds, hearts and souls

Entwine to become as one,

Brings a glimpse of heaven on earth.

Roger Newberry

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Posted in Musings

Eternity

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The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

For many years I have loved this beautiful poem. A few years ago, it inspired me to write my own poem and I unashamedly use his ideas….

eternity

Eternity,

A long time – longer than I can dream of,

And yet that’s how long I will love you.

When God saw that His time was right;

In order to fulfil one part of His eternal plan,

He brought you and me together

And started to make my dreams come true.

Those dreams so precious – because

Without the gold and riches of this world

To lay before you – I only have my plans and dreams.

My dreams of you my darling Boo,

The children of our love,

Our home – so full of happy memories.

Our families our friends, so dear each one.

Our future – together for eternity and sealed with a ring.

So, as I lay my dreams at your feet

As the pathway to our future

And take your hand and step out into the unknown

Towards eternity

Tread carefully – my dreams are all I have.

Roger Newberry

22nd July 1991

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Posted in Musings

Six jobs my kids never knew I had…

We didn’t have much money when I was growing up. My dad was a carpenter and my mum a dinner lady in school, so when it came to needing money, the only way to get it was by working for it.  I always had to do something. As soon as I was old enough, I took on a paper round and delivered thousands and thousands of newspapers in my time. At one stage, I was delivering 105 editions of the South Wales Echo every night! Health and Safety Executives would be muttering under their breath these days. Currently paper boys have about 20 – 30 max papers to deliver and are given a little trolley to pull along. We were tougher in those days, all I had was a paper bag and my trusty old bike. I went out in all winds and weather.

 

When I was older, during the School and College holidays I took a range of jobs which I look back on with very little affection. I worked because I had to. Two of the jobs, I absolutely hated.  Perhaps that is why I loved my chosen career so much … teaching – which I did for 39 years and 185 days.

 

  1. Gardener – Cardiff Corporation Waterworks.

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Charles Hallet, a member of my church when I was growing up, was an executive in Cardiff Corporation Waterworks and in the late 1960s, a nod was as good as a wink if someone needed a job. So, for several summers, I was employed as a gardener/handyman at the filter beds/reservoir on Rhiwbina Hill and clocked on at 8:00am every morning. Shift always began with a cup of tea in the mess hut. The manager lived on site in a tied house. I spent my time cutting grass, weeding and generally caring for the banks and flower beds of the site, the main reservoir was across a couple of fields at The Wenallt. It was uncovered when I started there but a room was put on eventually, as they got fed up of fishing the dead pigeons, cats and other livestock out of it. I loved working here and did it for several summers. The men treated me well, the boss, as I said, lived on site, Dennis the foreman lived in the caretaker’s house at The Wenallt and there was also a grumpy old chap lived just across the road. I have forgotten his name. Maybe it was Bill Brown.

We would also take the occasional trip to Radyr and Wenvoe, where there were small pumping stations and do a bit of weeding and tidying.

It was in this job that I saw a Flymo for the first time and we became experts at dropping the Flymo down the banks and pulling them up and dropping them down again cutting the grass – using a thick rope.

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My favourite machine was an auto scythe which we used on the longer grass. It was a beast!

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It was a very relaxed job and we got paid in cash in a little brown envelope, which arrived in a council van or car at the site like clockwork on a Friday afternoon. It was here I got the best tan I ever had in my life. Whenever I see a drain cover with C.C.W.W. on it I remember with affection those blissful teenage summers.

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  1. Steelworker – Guest Keen and Nettlefold Steel Works, Tremorfa, Cardiff.

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I have no idea at all how I got this job. It was as an odd job man in an awful place – the Guest Keen and Nettlefold Steelworks in Cardiff. I hated this job and everything to do with it. For sure, I was interested in the furnaces and the molten steel I saw at a distance.

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I worked here for most of the six weeks I was on holiday. If I remember it was after my A levels.

The only things I can really remember are the smell, the dirt, the smoke and most of all the dreadful over-manning. There were loads of men just hanging around doing very little all day. I am sure the steelworks were still a nationalised industry at this point and it was obvious even to me who knew nothing, that something needed to be done to make them profitable.

I would have made the world’s worst steel worker.

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  1. Demolition worker – W.T. Davies, Cardiff

I got this summer job because my sister in law worked for W.T. Davies and was friendly with the managing director. They were demolishing the old Penarth Cement works and the quarry, which lay across the road from it.

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A narrow-gauge train ran from the quarry, laden with limestone to be used to make the cement. I remember with the greatest affection watching that train cross Lavernock Road on many occasions on the way home from the beach at Swanbridge or Lavernock. I would make my dad drive slowly as we approached hoping to catch a glimpse of the little steam engine appear.

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The Cement Works was opened in the 1880s – the site was a commercial limestone quarry operation owned by the British Portland Cement Manufacturers and later Blue Circle. The quarries here provided limestone for the large cement works that stood until 1970 on the site of the present Cosmeston housing estate opposite the well-known country park. The peak year of production was 1962, when 175,000 tons of cement were manufactured. The famous ‘Dragon’ brand of cement was used to produce many of the early paving slabs laid in Penarth. The works finally shut in November 1969. Blue Circle stated it was not possible to upgrade the old plant to increase production any further, nor extend the existing quarries, which were closed in June 1970.

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The only factory building left standing today is the Harvester restaurant. Once quarrying ceased two of the excavated sites were used for landfill and the remaining two naturally flooded creating the lakes at Cosmeston that are seen today.

Today’s generation have no idea how ugly the quarry was so close to the lovely town of Penarth. Now, the filled-in quarry is a stunning country park and it’s great telling my grandchildren that I once walked on the bottom of Cosmeston lake.

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I hated working for a demolition company. The men were as rough as could be and their language constantly crude and filthy.

As well as being the world’s worst steelworker, I also would have been the worst demolition expert!

4. Soap seller for Nimbus products for the blind 

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I got this job by answering an advert in the South Wales Echo. It was a strange set up.                                               We had to meet at a certain place and were picked up in a battered old Bedford van,                                          driven by an eccentric and equally old chap called Mr Cameron.

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There was a bench of seats along the sides of the van and underneath were boxes full of soap products. He would drive us to that day’s location, issue us with a load of soap and then we would have to walk from door to door selling this soap made by a company that no one had ever heard of.

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Most people were very kind and some bought because they felt sorry for the blind people not the spotty teenager selling the stuff!

I had a small sense of allegiance to this job, because I had two aunts living in Swansea                                                          who were born blind. I loved spending time with them. I loved the gadgets they had                                                       to time things or to let them know if it was raining. I once wrote Aunty Annie a braille                                          letter only to find out she couldn’t read it as I had written from left to right but should                                                    have done right to left….

At the end of the day we would meet Mr Cameron and tally up what we had sold;                                                    unsold soap was returned to the boxes under the seats and the appropriate amount of cash was given to Mr. Cameron. Woe betide you if you didn’t balance. However, on the rare occasions when you had too much cash, we usually just kept quiet!

One event still sticks in my mind more than 45 years later; Mr Cameron’s battered old                                        Bedford van had a column change gear stick, which was always malfunctioning. At one                                      junction he was fighting to find a suitable gear and the car behind started tooting.                                                              Mr Cameron was incandescent with rage. He flung the sliding door of the van open                                                raced to the car behind and shouted – in classic John Cleese style…

‘Right! Shall I toot your horn while you go and fix my van!!”

Priceless!

I never knew anything about Nimbus products for the blind until researching this article,                                          when I found this from the Northampton Chronicle dated 4th January 2004 …

                                        Disabled workers lose factory jobs

A soap factory which employs blind and disabled workers is being forced to close as people no longer buy bars of soap. Nimbus Laboratories, a charity which employs 69 blind and partially sighted workers in Northampton, will close on 26 March.                                         Managing director Keith Percival said the closure had been forced upon the charity by                                  problems in the international soap market.  He said people had turned their backs on                                  traditional bars of soap and despite Nimbus branching out into liquid soap, it was not competitive.

The company has been in production for more than 100 years when workshops were                                 first created to provide work for the blind.  Nimbus moved to its Moulton Park site in Northampton in 1972 where a range of toiletries were made under its own brand as well as for major high street chains such as Boots and Sainsbury’s.                                                                                                                                The loss of Nimbus is a further blow to Northampton’s cosmetic industry after the closure of Avon Cosmetics last year.  About 465 Avon workers lost their jobs when manufacturing was transferred from Northampton to Poland. The factory was originally run by the Northamptonshire Association for the Blind. Despite becoming a registered charity, itself in 1996, it still provided money for the association.

Tragedy hit the factory in 1981 when a teenager on a youth opportunities programme was involved in an accident with a soap mixing machine which severed both his feet.

 

  1. Import Control Clerk – I.D.and S Rivlin, Cardiff

I took this job at a difficult time. I finished college in the summer of 1972 and was offered a teaching job in Cogan Primary School in Penarth. I was delighted, but when I received my examination results, I had failed my Welsh exam. I was gutted and told the Glamorgan Council, who withdrew their job offer. The Glamorgan College of Education offered me a resit in December, which I accepted but it meant finding employment while I awaited the resit.

That employment ended up being an Import Control Clerk in I.D and S Rivlin, which was a cash and carry clothes warehouse on Penarth Road in Cardiff. Thankfully, it no longer exits and was on the site where the car showroom is on the corner of Penarth Road and Hadfield Road in Cardiff.

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I hated every single second of the time I spent in Rivlins. I worked in a small office with a chap called Mr McGregor, who chain smoked – in the office in those days – and took great delight in telling me I would never have made a teacher anyway. He was awful! He told me constantly for the six months I was there! He lived in a nice house in St Lythans.

I got on well with the other people there – the ladies in the typing pool and in the canteen… but Mr McGregor … I have not one happy memory of him or my time there. I would never have been able to cope with office work.

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When my resit results came back and I had passed and was a qualified teacher I had quiet satisfaction in handing in my notice.

When I informed the council, they wrote back and offered me a job straight away without an interview at…. Cogan Primary School in Penarth. A coincidence… I don’t think so!

 

  1. Turnstile Operator at Cardiff City Football Club

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I got this job because of my friend Arthur Reed, who already had a job there. I LOVED this job. When I started, we had to report to the main office, collect a bag of float money, go to whichever turnstile was yours, collect the money and operate the turnstile and let the fans in.

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About twenty minutes after kick off you would take your bag of money, walk around the edge of the pitch to the office and after collecting your pay you could watch the rest of the match from the Grandstand if there was room. After a couple of years, I was ‘promoted’ to The Canton Stand. This meant collecting tickets not money and there were just a couple of steps up to the stand from the turnstile and this meant, I managed to watch most of the matches as most people were in from kick off time and if anyone arrived late I would just skip down the stairs, click the switch and let them through and go back to watching the match. Happy days.

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Later on, I became friendly with Mel Sutton, a tough Cardiff midfield player and after I left the job he would leave me free tickets for every game.

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I loved watching the city!

Posted in Thanks for a life

A service of celebration for the life of Mark Thomas Bateman.

Celebrating the wonderful life of  Mark Bateman

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The Wenallt Chapel, Thornhill, Cardiff.

Friday 8th April 2016 @ 4:15pm

Service conducted by Roger Newberry

 

 

Good afternoon. On behalf of the family, thank you for taking the time to be with us this afternoon.

 

Mark Bateman – or Marky B – was a lovely man. He was kind, thoughtful and never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. We are here today to celebrate his wonderful life.

As we gather here this afternoon to remember the dear and precious life of Mark, I know that many of you are dealing with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we feel a great sense of sadness. But today our hearts are sad, not for Mark, because he is in a far better place, but sad because we have lost a dear loved one.

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But on the other hand, for us, there is great comfort knowing that Mark is in heaven reunited with his precious parents George and Kitty.

When my own dad died a couple of years ago I came across this old poem. It helped me a lot…

The Broken Chain

We little knew that day,

That God would call your name.

In life we loved you dearly,

In death, we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you.

You did not go alone.

For part of us went with you,

The day God called you home.

You left us peaceful memories,

Your love is still our guide.

And although we cannot see you,

You are always at our side.

Our family chain is broken,

And nothing seems the same,

But as God calls us one by one,

The chain will link again.

– just think, there has recently been a great Bateman reunion – George and Kitty, Richard, Idris, Beat and Mark and other members of this lovely family.

 

So today is not just a day of mourning, but also a day of celebration. It must not be a day of regrets. Today we come to remember the life of Mark and reminisce over many of the special moments that we had with him and remember the special way he touched each and every one of our lives

 

Opening Hymn: The Old Rugged Cross

 

Thoughts: Mark’s sister Sandra Thorne

 

Mark left us a couple of weeks ago and we are all here because of his influence on our lives.  Sandra, Paul, Angela and Debra you and your lovely families will feel the loss more than others, because your lives were intertwined with his from the moment you or he  were born. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Mark’s at different occasions and in different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with Mark, we will never be the same again because of the man that he was.  We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he left behind. Mark was everybody’s friend.

 

Memories: Gareth Musgrove

 

In the difficult times of life, I often find that human words fall short of what we would like them to say.  But it is then that the Eternal Word of God speaks to us with power and healing, if we will but listen.  These words come across nearly twenty-five centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance.  But if we listen, the Bible can speak to us and help us to understand the difficult times in our lives.

 

Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate.

 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

 

You see, the Bible tells us that death is not an unforeseen accident.  There is a time to die. It is not something left out of the purposes of our Creator.   It is something well planned and necessary in the sight of God. God knew Mark needed rest.  It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.

 

This afternoon, as we mourn his passing, we can also give thanks for Mark’s life. This is a celebration of a life well lived, a life that impacted all of us who knew him.

I believe life is a gift from God. God made us and has given us life. He has blessed our life and made it full of experiences, people and events.  Each new day is a blessing and a gift from above.

Mark was a person who was given to us by God.  We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him.

In knowing Mark we have, hopefully, become better people, I know I have!  We have stored precious memories and experiences.  These are, I believe,  gifts to treasure.

 

The Bible also told us… There is  a time to laugh  –  Sandra gave us her beautiful thoughts on her precious memories of Mark –  Angela, Debra and Paul have asked me to share some of their memories too… and they are many and they all bring a smile to our faces! They remember so many happy times, wrestling with Mark or playing football with him over the park.

  • They often remember the day at Cold Knap when Mark was shaking his tea towel and a passing tourist poured scorn on George for making ‘the poor boy cool you down like that!’ George packed up and went home!
  • Another time Mark was bored so he decided to visit a neighbour. As it happens the neighbour was upstairs sleeping after coming home from a night shift. He was somewhat surprised to wake up with Mark sitting on his bed gently stroking his face. The fact that the man was naked at the time simply added to the fun!
  • The little cul de sac, Lon y Celyn, in which The Batemans lived was a great place to grow up. One day there were two old ladies sitting on a garden wall, chatting through the events of the day. Mark walked quietly passed them and the ladies shrieks brought George running. When George came out of the house all he could see were two pairs of legs sticking up and cries of ‘Help!’ coming from the garden the other side of the wall!
  • One day Mark went to visit The Hollybush flats near his home. It was about 10 stories high and Mark used to love playing in the lift. When the girls went to collect him, he would tease them by pressing the button and disappearing up or down to the next floor. One would wait at the bottom while two others waited one floor above and one floor below where they thought Mark would be. After finding him, one day, Angela picked the short straw and had to ride Mark’s bike home. On the way the police stopped her and gave her a ticking off. While this was happening, George drove by and tooted his horn, laughing all the way down Lon y Celyn.
  • The family also used to visit the Military Tattoo in Cardiff, usually armed with Kittie’s beaitiful pasties!! On one visit Mark tripped up a soldier marching past in full military uniform and another time shouted ‘Hip Hip Horray’ right in the middle of the two minutes of silence!
  • And finally no one will forget Mark starting to play his mouth organ right in the middle of Andrea Ashfield’s wedding. Many smiled but no one got crosss, Mark was loved too much.

 

There is a time to be sad.  Mark knew times of sadness in his life. He found death difficult to understand. When his mum and dad died for a long time he would call out up the stairs for them.

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When his precious Uncle Ainsworth passed away he would wander around their home looking for him and if he saw a car like his he would call out… ’Ainsworth!!’

 

The Bible also says There is a time to embrace  – for Mark’s family this means a time to reach out and thank those who added so much to Mark’s life. They  would like to pay tribute to all who have helped him. His teachers and carers in the schools he attended in Barry and Ty Gwyn School in Cardiff. They all loved him, even after Mark one day went into the staff room and emptied out all the handbags out on to the floor, only to feel a bit guilty and put all the stuff back in the bags, but not maybe in the right bag! The family want to pay tribute to the love , care and attention Mark always received.

In particular the family want to also thank the following

  • Shoina Macrae and her team and social worker James Tranter for you untiring work and care of Mark.
  • the staff of CUSS and all those involved with North West Day Services and Mark Beard in particular for the incredible support and love and care shown to Mark over many years.
  • more recently the staff of Ty Coch Nursing Home, who gave Mark a real home from home.

All of you showed quite extraordinary love to Mark. From the bottom of their  hearts the family would like to say… THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 

But death robs us of much – never again will we have Mark with us, no longer hear his voice, see him smile – no more hugs and cuddles. No more bottles of Guiness to enjoy!

Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say.

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But what wemust do is speak about him often and share the lessons we learnt from him with the next generation. Marky B was an incredible human being. The other day Sammy was trying to explain to little Billy that Mark was now in heaven and was beautiful and perfect. Billy looked up and said, ‘But Mummy Mark was beautiful down here!’ And he was! Mark taught us so much. He spent so much of his life smiling. He never got angry, never held a grudge. He was never knowingly mean or spiteful, but knew how to give love and he knew how to accept love freely.

Mark had a such a gentle and caring nature. There is not a person in this room who could do well to be a little bit more like Marky B!

So, God has given us his Word to help us come to terms with times like these.

He also gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift

The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember.

Remember Mark always….

  • as your wonderful brother
  • as a beautiful uncle and cousin, who taught us so much
  • a caring and funny man who was one of our best friends.

Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive!

Remember the love that he had for us, his family and friends.

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Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his wonderful life.

 

He is gone.
We can shed tears that he is gone
or we can smile because he has lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or we can open our eyes and see all he’s left for us to remember.

Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see him
or they can be full of the love we shared together

We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

We can remember him and only that he’s gone
or we can cherish his memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs
or we can do what Mark would want:

Smile….open our eyes……love each other, like he did…

and go on.

May God bless him memory to us.

 

Hymn: All things bright and beautiful

 

Dear family

I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The Mark that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know.

You have every reason to be proud of his life. You must have no regrets. The way you, as a family, cared for Mark has been inspirational. He was loved totally and cared for wonderfully, by all of you. For all those 25 years since George died, Angela and Kevin, with Vicky and Sammy have taken a greater responsibility but you all have had input and I know Mark felt secure and treasured every day of his life.  His wonderful long life is a testimony to how much he was loved. His life has touched so many in so many different ways.

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Prayer

Heavenly Father we thank you for the life of Mark – a good man.  We thank you that his life touched both his family and the community at large for good. Now he is at peace, guard and watch over him we pray.  Father, we commend to your loving care all those who mourn and pray in these difficult times they may grow ever more aware of your love. Strengthen and bring comfort we pray and give grace to them as they seek to understand the changes that lie ahead.

Amen

 

A quiet reflection of our dear brother – beautiful picture memories of a beautiful life.

 

The Committal

We read, ‘To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on earth, a time to be born and a time to die.’  Here in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, we commit Mark’s body to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who will transform our lowly bodies, so that they will be like His glorious body.

Having committed Mark’s body to the ground and his Spirit to Jesus we now say:

Thank you Mark for all you have given to us in your long and loving, life. 
Let’s all remember that the good Mark has shown us; we must go out show to others.

 

Benediction.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all, Amen

 

Music:  Fly by Celine Dion

Music:  Forever Love by Gary Barlow

 

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 ©RogerNewberry2016

Posted in Family, Stories for my Grandkids

Big Bear

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Hello, I am Big Bear.

I don’t know what my real name is – my previous owner couldn’t look after me anymore and I got sold. Lots of people don’t like me very much because I am quite a big bear. Also, I am not very cuddly! My stuffing is hard and when children press my tummy they nearly always say, ’This big bear is very hard!’

I don’t know why my stuffing is hard, I think its because I am very old.  I wish I had soft stuffing. I wish I was a cuddly bear. Having hard stuffing means I am very good at sitting up on my own. I am also very good at turning my head. I have special fittings on my neck and on my arms and legs. I am very proud of them.

I also like my eyes. They are made out of glass.

I am  old. Most of my fur has been loved off and so have the pads on my hands and feet. My previous owner tried to fix me but she did not do a very good job.

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I was very excited today because I found a new owner. He was old like me and he had a kind face. He bought me and paid a lot of money. I hope this means that he will love me. I liked him straight away. I especially like it when he said he lived with a lady who loved toys and always cared for them really well. I hope she can wash my dirty clothes and fix the pads on my hands and feet.

IMG_1136I was also excited because my new owner told me that he had some grandchildren who loved to play with bears. I love playing with children. While I was waiting for a new home the people put me up on a shelf.

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I don’t like sitting on shelves very much. I enjoy being with children and other toys.

When I went to my new owner I was put in a big bag. I was very nervous and I was very excited all at the same time. My new owner took me out of the bag and told me that he was going to take me home.

IMG_1128He was very kind and gentle. To keep me safe he put me in a car seat. It was the car seat he uses for his grandchildren, Lois, Eli and Max. I enjoyed my ride home.

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I was a little bit nervous when the car stopped outside my new house. It looked very nice indeed. It had a blue door.

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When we went in, I sat on a big bench by the door. It was very comfortable indeed. Just then a little dog came running up to see me. My new owner called her Belle, it was a nice name for a dog. The little dog and I soon became friends and Belle let me put my arm around her. I think we are going to be friends.

IMG_6316I like my new home and I am excited to meet the lady who will care for me and the grandchildren who will play with me.

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I love playing.

Posted in Family

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Paul George Bateman

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The following service took place on Monday 20th March 2017 at Thanet Crematorium, Kent, England. The service was conducted by Mr Roger Newberry. There were seventeen people, who gathered together to say one last goodbye to a lovely man. It was a beautiful occasion.

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Entry Music – Crimond: The Lord’s My Shepherd

 

Good morning. On behalf of the family, thank you for taking the time to be with us this today.

Paul Bateman  was a lovely man. I know that many of you are dealing with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we feel a great sense of sadness. But today our hearts are sad, not for Paul, because he is in a far better place, but sad because we have lost a dear loved one.

But on the other hand, for us, there is great comfort knowing that Paul is in heaven reunited with his precious parents George and Kitty and his beloved brother Mark.

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This is a thanksgiving service for his life. We are here to remember him and to think about our love for him.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, We come into your presence in the name of your Son, our Saviour The Lord Jesus Christ.  In all our dealings we acknowledge you as Sovereign Lord. Be with us here this morning to comfort, to guide our thoughts and to help us as we honour the memory of this good man. Amen

Opening remarks

When I read of Paul’s  passing on social media, I knew he was a man who was loved. I read these words…

  • Be grateful for the people you’ve got, because you never know when you’re going to lose them, take life as it comes, live for the ones you love…Graham and I miss you so much Paul. Lynda Luckhurst                                                                                           
  • Last Monday I lost one of my best friends. He was one of the loveliest people I know. R.I.P Paul. Love you and will miss you. xxx Sarah Lawson
  • RIP Paul, truly a wonderful man!! Going to miss you – was a pleasure knowing you!! Fly high with the angels xxx Cha Fairchild
  • RIP Paul, I’m in shock, it was a pleasure knowing you. Lou Webster
  • Very, very sad to hear that Paul has left us. He was a lovely man and a wonderful friend to my mum, May Davies! Happy memories of a dear friend. Carol Davies
  • You are the greatest man I have ever had the pleasure to know you will be missed so much by me I still can’t believe your gone RIP Paul I want you to know I love you so much xxxxx Graham Denton
  • Paul was like a grandfather to my four children. We all loved him dearly. Caroline Lorraine Cook

The Paul I knew was kind, thoughtful and a real gentleman.  He was always polite and friendly.  We are here today to celebrate his wonderful life.

If Paul’s life was a book, it would make fascinating reading. There was, maybe, a difficult chapter or two, when life was not easy for him. Paul however, came through these difficult times to prove to be a sesitive, generous, hospitable and kind human being, one I count it a privelege to have known and loved. Paul had a faith and I believe that faith gives great hope that one day all of us who share Paul’s faith will see him again. What a joy that will be.

Today must not be a day of regrets. We are here to remember Paul and the special times we had with him.

In the difficult times of life I have often found that human words often fall short of what we would like them to say.  But it is then that the Eternal Word of God speaks to us with power and healing if we will but listen.

These words of Jesus come across nearly twenty centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance.  But if we will listen, Jesus Christ speaks them to each one of us.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

My hope and prayer is that those who mourn will find comfort and strength from today’s service as we celebrate Paul’s wonderful life.

May we remember that this life is but a preparation for the life to come, and when each has accomplished his work on Earth, we, who are Christians, are called to continue that work in a higher sphere, where there is neithier death, nor pain, nor crying. Paul has gone from the struggles and weariness of this life into a better place.

Hymn

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

George Bennard 1913

Tributes to Paul from family and friends

From Sandra Thorne in Australia Paul’s sister

I was 11 years old and an only child when Paul came along. I was so excited, a baby brother, a real live doll. My parents allowed me to choose a name for the new baby.

Paul was a delightful little boy, shy but happy. Because our parents owned a corner shop and both worked full-time (and more), it fell to me to collect him from our grandmother’s home during school dinner hour, return him to Nanna’s again before running back to school, and then collecting him in his pram again later in the afternoon.

During school holidays, he came everywhere with my friends and I, Barry Island, Penarth, Cefn Onn, walks to Castle Coch, a fair hike for a little boy. Paul and I spent a lot of time together.

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When I met the man I eventually married, Paul used to bring his friends to look through the window at us cuddling on the couch. He charged them a shilling a time!

Paul was 11 years old when Malcolm and I married in March 1963. Six months later we moved to Australia; in those days, it was like moving to the ends of the earth. Obviously, because of the distance between us, Paul and I saw very little of each other. He used to send lovely letters in his teen years together with photographs.

Paul became a qualified chef and waiter in silver service. He decided to try his luck in London, acquiring a job at the Savoy. He soon had a floor where he was the sole waiter for famous people such as Shirley Bassey and, on one occasion, an Australian opera singer who telephoned Malcolm and me when she returned to Australia. She told us how helpful Paul had been in advising her the best way of travelling to Wales, and how to go about locating her ancestors for her family tree. Later in life, Paul gained a degree in Theology from St David’s University in Lampeter, West Wales. He started studying through University of the Air and, after moving to the area, followed this as a day student at Lampeter.

Paul was badly burned in a fire which slowed him down considerably but in recent times was coping well and was more mobile.

Only 11 months ago we saw each other at our dear brother, Mark’s, funeral. Debra, Angela and I have now lost two brothers in less than a year. It’s at times like this that we realise that life is finite, and we must look out for each other. Malcolm and I and our family are thinking of you all today.

       Thoughts of Graham Denton  

                                                                                                                                                                  When I met Paul, he changed my life for the better, he was in many ways like a father to me. I cherish the memories I have with Paul, he was the kindest and loveliest man I have ever met. He taught me so much about everything, we often had long chats anything and everything. Me, Paul and Lynda often went on days out, such as a picnic at Grove Ferry along the river, a trip to the lovely Chilham Village and many walks on the beach with Blaze. We always had great days out, will miss them more than you know. Until we meet again my wonderful friend Paul.

 

Thoughts of Angela and Kevin

Debra and I  have lost two brothers in just under a year – this is a heavy burden to bear and we thank our close family for their love and support.

We loved Paul our dear elder brother. We have many happy memories of growing up together in a home that was filled with love and laughter and we also had a wonderful extended family, with whom we spent many happy hours.

When we were young Paul used to take us into Cardiff shopping and to The Monico or Plaza to watch the Disney films. Kevin and I also went up to London and stayed with him for a week just after we were married. That was real adventure for us and Paul took the time and care to show us all the sights. We loved it. It was a happy time.

When Kevin was in the Falklands, I went with Vicky and Sammy, who were very young, and stayed with Paul in West Wales for two weeks. I remember one time we went shopping and bought a big sack of potatoes only to find when we opened it contained carrots. We often laugh about it even now! We spent hours washing peeling and freezing those carrots. It nearly put us off carrots for life! Paul would take Vick and Sammy to the end of the garden to feed the donkeys – there were enough of them. One morning we woke up to find the front garden full of sheep – the girls loved it and it is one of their favourite memories, even today!

Paul was a people person and would love spending time with his two grandmothers, Nanna Bateman and Nanna Davies. He also always enjoyed going to Uncle Ainsworth’s and Aunty Beat’s home in Rhiwbina on a Sunday, every week we would all pile in the cars and go for a Thayer’s Ice cream. Paul enjoyed days out and holidays with Aunty Maureen and Uncle Stewart and Young Stewart and Andrea.

Paul thought the world of his brother Mark who passed away last year. When he was younger they would often catch a bus to visit Aunty Ethel.

Now we only have our memories. We will always love Paul and we are so pleased to hear today of the impact he had on so many lives. We really hope that we can keep in touch with all Paul’s friends here in Margate. Graham and friends, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love and care you showed to Paul. He always spoke so highly of you.

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Thoughts of Debra and Dave

When Paul used to look after Angela and me when we were younger he would get us baking and he used to make cakes with us. When I was older Ceri Anne and I would go to spend many weekends in London. Paul went out of his way to make us feel welcome and made sure we always enjoyed ourselves. We will never forget his dog Rebel – Rebel loved me and when we were there Rebel would never leave my side.

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Thoughts of Jean Newberry

I cannot remember a time growing up when our families were not close. My mum and Pauls dad were sister and brother and they adored each other – hence many, many happy childhood days spent with my lovely cousins Paul, Mark, Angela and Debra. There was never a time when we were not welcomed in each other’s homes.

Every Sunday they would come to our home – it was wonderful. Paul would wear a really smart blazer with his badge collection on the lapels. He would look so smart and proud. Off we would go to the ice cream shop, Thayer’s.

He was so caring and gentle with his little brother and sisters, the kindest, sweetest boy you could imagine, always holding one or two little hands. As we grew older, we became like best friends, always out cycling on our small wheeled Moulton and Raleigh bikes, having picnics or going to Cardiff Market to see the animals. We would often sneak a small rodent or two home and hide it in a cage in our garage or Aunty Kitty’s garage. They were innocent, happy times. Paul always loved animals.

We shared so much growing up and I adored him – he always has and always will hold a very special place in my heart.

Of all the things we shared, one on the most special was our faith in God. We had many chats about this and I really believe I will see Paul again in heaven. I believe he is now safe with Jesus and those who have gone before. I will miss our exchange of Easter cards this year. Easter was a special time for us both.

Graham, I know how special you were to Paul. When he came to stay with Rog and I it was so lovely to meet you.

I am so glad that my gentle, kind cousin found in you such a special friendship. I know, just like mine, there will be a special part of your heart that always belongs to Paul.

 

Reading:  Psalm 23
A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

 

 A message of hope and encouragement

Mr Roger Newberry

 

Paul left us a few weeks ago to be with Jesus and we are here because of his influence on our lives. Our lives crossed Paul’s at different times and in different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with him is, he made his mark on our lives.

What Paul formerly believed by faith, he now sees by sight. He no longer resides in a body with all its aches and pains, but is in God’s presence at this very moment.

I was very interested to hear that Angela and Debra chose to play the music of Psalm 23 for us to walk into today. It’s an incredible piece of writing from the Bible. Verse 4 says this….

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

There is so much we can learn from this lovely Psalm.

Firstly, we all walk through valleys at some time, we can’t avoid them.

If the truth be told, most of us would like to avoid those dark valleys in our lives altogether. We would prefer that life was just a series of mountaintop experiences where everything was great all the time, without ever having to go through the valleys. But that is just not how life works. Paul, like all of us, went through some dark valley type experiences. The shepherds in Palestine would take their sheep from their winter pastures in the lower elevations to the high mountain meadows where they would feed during the summer and there was no other practical way for the sheep to get to the mountaintop other than to go through those valleys. I think that’s why David wrote “Even though I walk through the valley…” The clear implication there is that valleys are to be expected in our lives. I also want to call your attention to the fact that David writes that he “walks through” the valleys. Notice that valleys are only temporary – we go through them. The sheep journeying through the valleys don’t stay there because that is not their final destination and because it would be too dangerous for them to remain there. Notice also that we walk through the valley not run – we shouldn’t be in such a rush to get through the valleys that we miss what God wants to do in our lives in those valleys.  True security is not found in the absence of dangers but rather in the presence of the Shepherd

Note also that every valley is a path to something better

I think it is natural for us to ask why the Good Shepherd would ever lead those sheep into a valley filled with danger and threats. And there is really only one possible answer –  to lead us to a better place.

For the sheep, the valley was a dangerous place. The sheep in the bottom of the valley were exposed to the predators that roamed the surrounding hilltops. And while there was adequate food and water within those valleys to sustain the sheep during their journey, there wasn’t adequate pasture for the sheep to just remain there.

So, the sheep were just passing through the valley to get to the high mountain meadows that offered both abundant food and open areas that did not provide so much cover for the predators that stalked them.

The same thing is true for our lives. Sometimes in order to get us to the mountaintops that he has prepared for us God needs to lead us through some valleys where we face danger, discouragement, and difficulties. And often, while we’re in those dark valleys we not only can’t see the better places ahead, but we can’t even see our way out of the valley. But the good news is that we have a Shepherd who knows the way. And the Shepherd is wise enough to know just how long to keep us in those valleys in order for Him to do whatever work He needs to do in our lives to prepare us to live in the better place He has already prepared for us.

Paul described this same idea with these familiar words from the Bible.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Maybe some of us here this morning are going through valleys right now. And each of those valleys, as well as the mountaintops that we are travelling toward are unique to each one of us. Those valleys vary in their nature and their length. But the one thing that they all have in common is that there is a Shepherd who wants to lead us through them because He is leading us on a path to something better.

We live in a world of Change

The evidence of change is all around us:

  • Winter is slowly becoming Spring…
  • The young become aged and
  • The new becomes old.

But at all times, God is in control.

Over time God continues to change our hearts. God wants to make our hearts more like his.

Our lives have changed because we no longer have Paul with us. Are lives are poorer now that Paul is no longer with us, but our lives have already been made much richer for having known him, loved him and walked the path of life with him.

This morning, as we mourn Paul’s passing, we can also give thanks for his life.

I believe life is a gift from God. God has made us and given us life. God has blessed our life and made it full of experiences, people and events.  Each day is a blessing and a gift from above.

Paul was a person who was given to us by God.  In knowing Paul we have, hopefully, become better people.  We have stored memories and experiences.  These are gifts from God.

But death robs us of much – never again will we have Paul with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile.

Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say

Do you wonder how you will deal with it?  The best way is with the promises of the Bible.

That’s how we can come to terms with times like these, with the wonderful hope that if we share Paul’s faith we will see him again

God gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift

The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember.

Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive

Remembering is bringing things from the past to the present and Paul taught us all a valuable lesson.

This is the lesson….

No matter who you are or whatever hardship you face you are always able to GIVE and always able to LOVE.

Our biggest gift to his now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in his hour of trial.

To all of us who are here today and all who will read about this service on line…

  • I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The Paul that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know.

You have every reason to be proud of his life.

 

  • I commend you to the care of Almighty God and trust that you will find the strength and peace that He alone can bring.

May God bless his memory to us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father we thank you for the life of Paul – a good man. We thank you that his life touched both his family and all who knew his for good. We thank you for his simple faith in you.  Now he is at peace and his suffering is over. Guard and watch over him we pray.  Father we commend to your loving care all those who mourn and pray in these difficult times they may grow ever more aware of your love. Strengthen and bring comfort we pray and give grace to them as they seek to understand the changes that lie ahead.

Amen

 

As we say our final goodbyes, you must have no regrets. Angela and Kevin, Debra and Dave,  Jean as well, when Paul really needed you, you were there. Graham and Lynda, I know from Paul how much he appreciated your friendship, care and devotion to him. Paul’s life has touched so many of us in so many different ways. Let’s all treasure the memories we have of this lovely man.

The Committal

We read in the Bible, ‘To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on earth, a time to be born and a time to die.’  Here in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, we commit Paul’s body to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who will transform our lowly bodies, so that they will be like His glorious body. Having committed Paul’s body to the ground and his Spirit to Jesus we now say:

Thank you, dear Paul, for all you have given to us while you were with us.
Let’s all remember that the good he has shown to us; we must now go out show to others.

 

Benediction.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all, Amen

Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God, our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.

 

Procession  –  All things Bright and beautiful.

 

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Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow, laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant, it is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner – All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!


Canon Henry Scott-Holland

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Posted in Thanks for a life

Edward Stuart Ashfield

 

 

A Celebration of the Life

of

EDWARD (STUART) ASHFIELD

Légion d’Honneur

1923 – 2017

Tuesday 31st January 2017 at Thorhill Crematorium, Cardiff

 

 Entrance  –  An Evening’s Pastorale by Wilfred Shaw

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you have not made us for darkness and death, but for life with you for ever. Without you we have nothing to hope for; with you we have nothing to fear. Speak to us now your words of eternal life. Lift us from anxiety and sadness to the light and peace of your presence and set the glory of your love before us.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

On hehalf of the family I welcome you here this afternoon. You will never know how much your presence here is appreciated. Thank you.

Stuart Ashfield was a lovely man. He was kind, thoughtful and was never one to complain, whatever life threw at him. We are here this afternoon to celebrate his wonderful life.

Stuart was a man who loved and was loved, by his family, wide circle of friends and indeed all who knew him

In the difficult times of life I often find that human words often fall short of what we would like them to say.  But it is then that the Bible speaks to us with power and healing if we will but listen.  These words come across nearly thirty centuries. They seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance.  But if we will listen, the Bible speaks them to each one of us.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

 

 

A Tribute to Stuart Ashfield

Read by Mrs Angela Ashfield

Stuart has written this with Andrea’s help and I am reading this on his behalf.

I was thinking the other day, as you do when reflecting on the loss of a loved one, how much Mum, Andrea, Angela, Phil and I loved dad.

Both Andrea and I were very lucky to grow up with a great Dad. Some don’t have that good fortune, or for as long as we did.  We had a great Dad –  and here are some of the reasons why.

Dad was hard working. He had a number of jobs during his life from delivery boy up to Warehouse Manager, always giving everything he could to the job. Latterly he was a Director for Bateman’s the Welsh Grocers who were a family firm and probably the first major supermarket chain in Wales, and many of the Bateman family are here today. He was always known to all the staff as Mr A.

Dad was thoughtful. He would always put others before himself and frequently offer assistance to anyone who needed it.

Dad was adventurous. Organising  family holidays to many places, even overland trips in a campervan through France and into Southern Spain. This trip was groundbreaking in the early 1960s when package holidays were still in their infancy.

Dad was fun – Always helping us as kids with the latest project or fad like building a “bogie” (for you younger ones, this was what a ten year old would class as playtime before the invention of the iPad). It was a short plank of wood on wheels, and you could steer the front wheels with a piece of string and set off down a steep hill with only your shoe leather as a brake. When I grew up we spent many a happy evening together supporting Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, with dad loudly ringing his hand bell to cheer them on and deafening me in the process.

Andrea also had a beautiful relationship with Dad and has so many memories of him she said she found it hard to pinpoint just one. Dad really enjoyed her visits especially for one particular reason. He loved his tea piping hot and relentlessly teased Mum about Andrea being able to make a better and hotter cuppa.

Dad was brave – The word “Hero” is used too easily these days. If you can play sport well you are described as a hero, but that is not  heroic. You are fortunate to have a skill that you are good at but you are not a Hero. A hero is someone like Dad and his comrades who put their lives on the line for the freedom their Country.

 

Dad was proud– He was a long time member of the “Royal Engineers Association” and was very active within it. Being a standard bearer with a keen eye for detail, such as making sure the brass finial was polished so that you could see your face in it. He was also the treasurer for a number of years.

Recently Dad was very proud and honoured to be awarded the medal Legion d’honneur by the French Government for his part in the freedom of France during the Second World War.

It was presented to him by the French Consul and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff at a ceremony a week before he went into hospital. The picture on the front of the Order of Service was taken at the ceremony.

Dad was caring. Always making sure everyone was looked after, and enquiring if he could do anything to help out.

During the final chat I had with Dad at Llandough Hospital before the last 10 days in which he became very ill and was not able to converse properly, he was still asking how everyone was and saying what a strain it must be for the family to see him like this and that his quality of life had gone.

Dad was loving and protective– Always making sure that Mum and Andrea were safe, and looked after.

I could go on describing what made him a great Dad, however, it can all be summed up in saying he was not just a great Dad but the best Dad we could have had and we will miss him deeply.

Angela’s extra- For my part I will always remember how Stuart (and Mo of course) made me feel very much part of the family, as he also did with Andrea’s beloved Phil, and I will miss him very much.

Here is a poem entitled “Our Hero” – which Andrea found and completely sums up how we feel.

 

You held our hands

When we were small

You caught us when we fell

You’re the hero of our childhood

And our later years as well

And every time we think of you

Our hearts still fill with pride

And though we’ll always miss you dad

We know you are by our side

In laughter and in sorrow

In sunshine and through rain

We know you’re watching over us

Until we meet again.

 

Thoughts from Sandra Thorne in Australia

Malcolm and I are so sorry to have to miss this celebration of dear Stuart’s life . Young Stuart wanted me to mention my memories of his Dad. The main thing that I would have mentioned is his patience with his girl friend’s niece. How many young men would agree to take his girl friend’s niece out on a date with them?! Well, I went on many a date with Mo and Stuart. After they got married Stuart bought a motor bike and guess who went on the pillion? Yes, me! Mo had to go in the side-car. I was taken with them to the speedway every Thursday to watch the Cardiff Dragons. Mo made cheese and pickle sandwiches and a flask of tea. I took all this for granted but now realise that Stuart was a very special man. Malcolm loved Stuart as much as I did. Stuart welcomed him into the clan with open arms and warm friendship. Malcolm and I are so deeply sorry not to be at the funeral, but are hearts will be there. I can’t remember a time when Stuart wasn’t in my life. How lucky I’ve been.

 

 

 

From Len Bateman in New Zealand

I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Stuart, he was a great and fun guy. I do miss him, give my condolences to his family.

 

From Theo, Stuart’s nephew in South Africa

I am so sorry that I am not able to be present at this most solemn occasion. Stuart was a man who gave so much for his country. He was an adoring husband and a loving father. He always had a smile for everyone and a wonderful sense of humour.

 

From Paul Bateman in Margate, Kent

I will always remember the holidays I had when Uncle Stuart drove Auntie Mo, Stuart, Andrea and me to Spain on holiday. We had such fun and Uncle Stuart always showed me kindness. I will never forget him.

 

Hymn

I watch the sunrise.

Stuart loved to lie in bed and watch the beautiful sunrise over his home.

 

Address

Mr Roger Newberry

Ecclesiastes Ch 3

 

The Bible tell us in Ecclesiastes 3 that death is not an unforeseen accident.  It is not something left out of the purpose of our Creator.   It is something well planned and necessary in the sight of God. I believe God knew Stuart needed to rest.  It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.

Stuart left us peacefully on 15th January 2017 and we are here because of his influence on our lives.  For you Maureen, Stuart, Angela and Andrea – you are his wife and children and your lives were intertwined with his for many years. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Stuart’s at different times and different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with Stuart, we will never be the same again because of the man he was.  We are all a part of the wonderful legacy he left behind.

This afternoon as we mourn his passing, we can also give thanks for Stuart’s life.

I believe life is a gift from God.  The Bible tells us there is a time to be born. God has made us and given us life. God blesses our lives and makes them full of experiences, people and events.  Each day is a blessing and a gift from above.  It is my belief that Stuart was a person who was given to us by God.  We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him. In knowing Stuart we have, hopefully become better people.  We have stored memories and experiences.  These are gifts from God.

 

But death robs us of much – never again will we have Stuart with us, no longer hear his voice, see his smile – no more of his wonderful sense of humour. Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say

Wonder how you will deal with it?  With the promises of the Bible.

Let’s go back to the Bible

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. 

 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.

God gave us something else to help – a great and wonderful gift. The gift of memory – a powerful capacity to remember. That is what God wants you to do with Stuart.

Remember him as your husband, father, father in law  and your friend. Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive. Remember the love that he had for family, his willingness to serve his country in the dark days of war.

Stuart was a hero. Any young man who willingly stepped out onto those Normandy beaches in 1944, will always to my mind be a hero. Juno Beach in June 1944 would not have been a great place to be.

G.K. Chesterton, English author once said….
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

In 2015 we have heard that Stuart was given the French Legion d’Honneur – The French Legion of Honour. It was given to all surviving D. Day veterans to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landings. The Legion of Honour is the highest national decoration. For two centuries, it has been rewarding the outstanding merits of citizens and designating them as models of French civic service. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 1800s

What the creation of the Legion of Honour heralded was important: it was not given to privileged people, you couldn’t buy one, the only way to get one was to earn one by serving the country and people of France

General de Gaulle undertook a major reform of the system of national decorations in 1962. For the Legion of Honour, to preserve its special status he set a maximum number of living members (125,000).  Stuart is part of a very select group of people.

Two days after Stuart died, Maureen was hanging clothes in the washing line when three geese flew very low overhead – usually there are about thirty in such a group. When she went back into the house and shared this with Andrea, her response was… ‘That’s dad’s flypast!  (Andrea has obviously inherited Stuart’s quick sense of humour!

The separateness and uniqueness of each human life is the basis of our grief in bereavement. We could look through the whole world and there is no one like Stuart.

He still lives on in our memories. Though no longer a visible part of our lives, he will always remain a member of your family or circle through the influence he has had on you and the special part he played in your lives. We know that the value and meaning of life consists in living it and living it well. People who have been a strength and comfort to others and have worked for future generations, deriving fulfilment and satisfaction from so doing, these are the people who bring value and meaning to life.

Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his life.

May God bless his memory to us.

Dear family

  • I commend to you those memories that are yours alone. The Stuart that you knew was special to you as a family in ways that no one outside could know. You have every reason to be proud of his life

 

  • I commend you to the care of Almighty God and trust that you will find in Him the strength and peace that He alone can bring.

 

 

 

He Is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what Stuart would want:

Smile, open your eyes, love each other and go on.

 

The Committal

Would you please stand for the committal…

Earlier I read

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose on

earth, a time to be born and a time to die.

Here in this last act, in sorrow but without fear, in love and appreciation, and since it has pleased Almighty God to take to himself the soul of our dear husband, father and friend Stuart, we commit his body to be cremated, ashes to ashes in the sure and certain knowledge that the Judge of all the earth will do right.

 

The last post .

Benediction

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord show you His kindness and have mercy on you.
May the Lord watch over you and give you peace.

Amen

 

As you leave today please be aware that the family would invite you to The Manor Park to enjoy some refreshments and an opportunity to share memories of dear Stuart. I hope, like me, you will leave with a feeling of having shared in something very special, for a very special man.

 

Exit: The Royal Engineer’s March.

 

Roger Newberry – January 2017

Posted in Stories for my Grandkids

Bob the Bear goes to Disneyland

 

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Chapter 1. 

Bob the bear was a very special bear.

He lived in a drawer in an office. The office belonged to a lovely lady; she was the Headteacher of a school. Bob the bear lived in a school and all the children and the teachers were his friends.

He was a very happy bear. He liked having lots of friends. Do you like having friends? Bob does.

Bob the bear liked living in a drawer and although he was a bit squashed, he made himself as comfortable as he could. However, what Bob the bear liked most of all were the times he was taken out of his drawer, so that he could go on holiday with one of the children of the school. Bob loved going on holiday, he had been to many places all over the world.

One cold November day Bob the bear was taken out of his drawer and given to Mia and Millie.  Mia and Millie were going to Disneyland. Bob was very excited. The Headteacher told Mia and Millie to be very careful that Bob did not get wet. It is not good for Bob’s fur when he gets wet.

Mia and Millie promised that they would take very good care of Bob.

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He was taken home in Mia’s bag, it was a lovely bag with a picture of Anna and Elsa from Frozen on the front. Bob knew that Anna and Elsa lived in Disneyland; Bob was looking forward to seeing them.

Bob went to Disneyland in Mia and Millie’s car. They went on a big ship. The ship was called a ferry.

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Bob did not feel very well on the ferry. He had to lay down.

When they arrived in Disneyland Mia, Millie and Bob were very excited.

“We are here, we are here, we are here!” they shouted, jumping up and down. They arrived in the night, so they all went to bed early so they could enjoy the next day in Disneyland.

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Bob had a bed of his own and he was very comfortable.

There was a picture of Lightning McQueen on his bed. Bob was very happy; Cars was one of his favourite films. That night Bob had a lovely dream that he was meeting all the characters from the film. It was a lovely dream.

 

When they went to breakfast, Bob wanted to help Mia and Millie get their cereals. He tried hard to turn the wheel but he found it was too hard.

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Bob did not have cereals; he knew that the Headteacher like him to eat ‘healthy’ food, so Bob had fresh fruit for his breakfast. He liked having fresh fruit and he cleared his plate. Bob wished he was back in school so he could have a clean plate award – then he remembered he was in Disneyland and he was excited again and soon forgot about his clean plate sticker.

 

He also had a glass of orange juice for his breakfast. He knew that orange juice was healthy. Bob was such a good bear.

Chapter 2

It was soon time to go into Disneyland and Bob was so happy. There were so many exciting things to see as they walked to the park.

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When they got to the gate, he put his own ticket through the scanner. The lady on the gate was very kind. Bob liked it when people were kind to him, he was such a small bear.

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Bob was so excited to be in the park! There were so many things to see and do. He thought he would burst.

Millie wanted to go on the teacups first. Bob didn’t know what the teacups were. He was hoping it wasn’t a fast ride. Bob did not like fast rides – do you like fast rides? Bob doesn’t!

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Bob like the teacup so Millie let him have two goes! Bob was happy – he thought Millie was very kind.

Next Mia and Millie showed him the sword from the story of King Arthur.

In the story, the person who pulled the sword from the stone would become king. At first Millie helped Bob pull the sword out. It moved a little bit and Bob thought he would like to pull the sword on his own. Millie let him but it was no good, Bob was not strong enough.

Millie smiled at her little friend he was such a brave little bear. He was such fun. Where would Mia and Millie take him next? He soon knew the answer.

When Bob the bear saw Sleeping Beauty’s Castle his eyes nearly popped! It was very beautiful and Bob thought that Sleeping Beauty was very lucky to live in such a lovely place as this. Bob wondered if there was a drawer in the castle he could live in.

Near the castle was a huge Christmas tree and Bob thought it would be fun to sit with the presents.  Mia and Millie were very careful not to leave Bob here at the tree.

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He was so happy and thought that Disneyland was just about the best place he had ever been and what made it even more special, was that he was spending time with such lovely friends who loved him and cared for him.

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Next they passed a jazz band who were playing some lovely music. When they saw Bob, they stopped playing their music and asked Bob if he would have a photograph with them. He thought that this was a great idea. Bob loved music and one day – if he ever moved to the Juniors he hoped that he could learn to play an instrument

It was nearly the end of the first day and Bob decided he would like to ring his Headtecaher just to let her know that he was fine and that Mia and Millie were looking after him so well. There was no answer. Bob was sad.

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That night, when they were back in the hotel, Bob went to bed early. He knew that when he woke up there would be many more adventures to enjoy with his little friends. They had promised that the next day they would visit the Pirates of the Caribbean. Bob loved pirates, he was so excited that he found it hard to go to sleep. When he did, he dreamed of meeting a real-life pirate.

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To be continued…

 

 

 

Posted in Thanks for a life

Angus Mayer – my friend.

Angus Mayer

This simple remembrance of a friend was delivered at his funeral on 24th September 2016 at The Wenallt Chapel in Cardiff. Angus was a one off – one of life’s great individuals. He and his wife Margaret, whom he adored, are the central characters in a wonderful love story. Their family is truly one of the kindest you will ever meet. It’s a privilege to call them my friends.

 

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My friend

Jean and I were speaking with Angus just a couple of days before he left us and he held Jean’s hand and through his tears he said, ‘I have always tried to be a good man.’ As he said it I smiled and thought to myself. ‘No Angus you are not a good man….  you are a great man!’

In my eyes, that’s what he was – a great man and a great friend.

Somehow, I knew that the time between us meeting like this to say goodbye to Margaret and meeting again to say goodbye to Angus would be a short one and so it turned out. They were inseperable in life and will now be inseperable in death.

Angus left us a little while ago and we are here because of his influence on our lives.  For you his family… your lives were intertwined with his from the moment you were born.  For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Angus’s at different times and in different contexts in the course of time.  No matter what our connection with him we will never be the same again because of the man he was.  We are all a part of the wonderful legacy that Angus and Margaret Mayer have left behind.

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This morning as we mourn his passing, we are also celebrating Angus’s  life.  I believe life is a gift from God. It’s a gift made to be full of experiences, people and events. We had the privilege of knowing him and loving him and walking along the path of life with him.

In knowing Angus we have, hopefully become better people.

I was first introduced to Angus and Margaret soon after I started courting Jean. She told me of this wonderful family she knew and visited regularly. She just loved her visits to Fairfax Road. Without fail, she was welcomed every time, you children were asked to budge up and make room and a plate of something homemade and special was put in front of her. It was only later in life that  Jean realised that Angus and Margaret were probably giving her their own food. But they did it willingly. That’s the kind of people they were!

Jean loved her visits and longed one day to have a family of her own just like The Mayers.

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For me… I loved both Angus and Margaret from the very first time I met them and my love for them both never stopped growing. We were frequent visitors to their home down through the years and it became our custom to visit them every Christmas Eve. Each year one of his terrines was opened up and each year he would say the same thing…

’I wouldn’t cut this before Christmas Day for anyone else you know!’

Last year it was a Christmas Cake. He was very proud that Cath had made it.

Last week, we promised Gus that wherever he was, we would still visit him on Christmas Eve. He appreciated that! You can be sure we would have kept that promise and you can also be sure he and your mum will always hold a special place in our hearts and we will remember them in a special way on December 24th!

 

One by one our children were introduced to him. The first time my son Gareth visited, Margaret informed us that Gus was in the greenhouse. Out in the garden we were met by a great cloud of feathers and suddenly Angus’s booming  voice came through the cloud!  He was busy plucking pheasants. It’s a story we retell at regular intervals!

Kate, my daughter, was fascinated this year when Gus met us wearing an old cardigan which had a massive paper clip attached to the zip, replacing the obviously broken orignal. To me that summed up the lovely man that Gus was… quirky, eccentric, funny and so very interesting. I loved just sitting and listening to him tell his stories! Your dad was a master storyteller. He was the best cook I ever knew, his cross stitch skills were remarkable and one of our prized posessions is a signed and framed cross stich of Creation – Day One that Angus made for us several years ago. Trust me every time we pass it we smile and think of our lovely friend.

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He loved life – cooking, decorating, building, gardening at home and at the allotment , fishing, but most of all he loved his family. His face would light up when he spoke of you all.

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Death robs us of much – never again will we have Angus with us, no longer will we hear his voice, see his smile – no more hugs and handshakes.  Gone is the chance to tell him things you wanted to say.

How are we going to cope? We have something to help – a great and wonderful gift

The gift of memory…

Remember how much he loved your mum.  Remember him as your wonderful father, grandfather and your friend. Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive. Remember the fun times.

One day he said to me ‘Roger I could never be a teacher’

I didn’t have the foresight to say ‘But Gus, you are a teacher already!’

He didn’t realise all the things he taught us all about living life to the full, about overcoming life’s obstacles, about filling life with great experiences and about LOVING!

Let us promise that the good Angus and Margaret showed to us in their lives, we will now show to others and keep their memory alive!

 

 

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They are gone.

We can shed tears that they are gone
or we can smile because they have lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that they will come back
or we can open our eyes and see all they’ve left for us to remember.

Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see them
or they can be full of the love we shared together.

We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

We can remember them and only that they’ve gone
or we can cherish their memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs
or we can do what Angus and Margaret would want:

Smile….open our eyes……

love each other like they did…

and go on.

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Posted in Stories for my Grandkids

George – The bear nobody loved

The Bear Nobody Loved

Chapter 1

George was a bear that nobody loved. He lived all on his own in a caravan down by the seaside. George was a lonely bear.

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It hadn’t always been like that. A long time ago George was loved. He used to live in a big house in the country with two children Ben and Lucy.

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George belonged to Ben who used to play with him every day and took him to bed every night. George was a present for Ben when he was born and he was a bear who was loved very much indeed – but that was a long time ago.

Ben was now grown up and he thought he was too old to play with bears, so George was taken to the caravan by the seaside. He was put on a shelf high up in the caravan and that’s where he stayed –

day after day,

week after week,

month after month and

year after year.

George didn’t like being on his own in the caravan, he wanted to be played with and loved by a child. He wanted to have adventures and be a brave bear. He wanted to have cuddles at night-time. No one cuddled George any more. He just sat on the high up shelf in the caravan down by the seaside.

Ben’s family did not visit the caravan any more, so it was very quiet all the time. In the summer it was very hot and in the winter it was very cold. Sometimes George could hear the seagulls walking on the roof of the caravan.

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Even the seagulls had friends, but George had no one. He was a very lonely bear.

Sometimes George thought that if he were more handsome perhaps a child would love him again. George only had one eye and the one eye he did have was all scratched and George couldn’t see very well.

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If you cover one eye with your hand and screw your other eye up, you will have an idea what it was like for George as he sat on the high up shelf in the caravan down by the seaside.

One day everything changed – one wonderful, glorious, happy day. George had been sitting quietly on his high up shelf. It had been a hot sunny day and just as the sun was setting George heard a car pulling up outside his caravan. As he listened, he heard the car doors being opened and the sound of children’s excited voices. Then he heard the most exciting sound he had heard for a very long time – it was the sound of the keys being put into the caravan door.

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Suddenly he heard the door opening slowly….

 

Chapter 2

Making friends

George was very nervous. It was a long time since anyone had visited the caravan. He was hoping there would be some children. George like it when children came to stay. Grown-ups didn’t usually bother with him and they left him on his high up shelf.

He heard the keys turn in the lock and then he heard the door of the caravan open slowly…

He put one leg over the edge of his high up shelf so he could get a better view.

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Suddenly he heard a child’s voice. Then he heard another child’s voice and then another.

After that he heard the voice of the children’s daddy and mummy. The children were called Mia, Millie and Lois. They were very excited and ran about laughing and jumping on the seats. As Millie was jumping excitedly up and down she noticed George, he was looking down.

Millie stopped and stared. Millie looked at George and George looked at Millie. He thought that Millie had a kind face. He hoped they could be friends.

‘Mia look!’ she shouted, ‘a bear… let’s play with him. Get him down Mia, get him down!’

Millie’s mummy said that the bear looked a bit old and dirty and that they were not allowed to play with him.

The girls were very sad.

‘Mummy can we give the bear a bath and then we can play with him?’ the girls said.

They felt sorry for the bear, he looked lonely up there on the high up shelf. Mummy said that she would, and she took George down and put him on top of the settee to look out of the window. George was very excited.

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After they had unpacked all their cases, mummy took George very gently and gave him a bath in the washing up bowl.

Mummy looked closely at George. He wasn’t a very handsome bear. He had one eye missing and his other eye was very scratched.

George thought that mummy had a very kind face. He loved having a bath. The water was warm and there were lots of bubbles.

George liked bubbles. The last time George had had a bath it was in a washing machine. George got very dizzy in the washing machine. That was the time he lost his eye.

Mummy washed George very gently and dried him with a towel. After that George was put outside on the line to dry.

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He was very uncomfortable with a peg on his ear, but he loved being out in the sunshine after being in the caravan for so long.

He could not hear anything out of his ear with the peg on, but in his other ear, if he listened carefully he could hear the sound of children playing on the beach and he could hear the sound of the sea.

George loved the beach – he could not go in the sea; sea water was not good for his fur but he loved to climb rocks and build sandcastles and lay on a towel on the beach.

After he was dry, George was taken off the line and he was given a packet of his favourite snack. They were called Pom Bears.

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George was so happy. He felt a little tear trickle down his cheek. It wasn’t a sad tear; it was a happy tear. George was a happy bear.

He felt clean but most of all he felt happy because he heard Mia’s mummy say that after dinner they would be going down the beach.

‘Can we take George to the beach? Millie asked.

‘Yes, of course you can,’ Mummy replied, ‘as long as you keep him out of the water.’

Millie gave George a huge cuddle.

‘You’re coming to the beach; you’re coming to the beach!’ she shouted.

He smiled.

George felt, clean, happy and loved.

Chapter 3

George goes to the beach

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George sat quietly thinking about the beach while Mia, Millie and Lois ate their lunch. He heard their mummy say that the weekend in the caravan was going too quickly. George was not sure what a weekend was but he hoped it was a long time… a very long time. He loved being with his new friends.

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It was not long before the girls came running out. They were wearing their swimming costumes. George wished he had a swimming costume, but he knew that he was not allowed to go in the sea because his fur would get wet.

‘You must be careful when you walk to the beach,’ Millie told him. ‘there are some very steep steps! Ask me if you need help.’ George said that he would.

Millie was good at helping, she always helped Lois when she was stuck.

George soon found out that Millie was telling the truth. The steps to the beach were very steep, but George managed just fine on his own.

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George was a brave bear.

Just then the girls stated giggling. They saw a sign which said ‘Booby’s Bay’. George did not understand why the girls were laughing. George thought that Booby’s Bay was a nice name.

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They soon got to the beach and George held the sun cream while mummy put the sun cream on the girls to keep them safe. Mummy was very kind and looked after Mia, Millie and Lois very well.

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George wondered what it was like to have sun cream on. He thought it would make his fur very messy.                                                                                                                                                    They all had such fun at the beach. George liked to sunbathe. He loved the warm sun on his fur.  He borrowed Mia’s towel.

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Soon he decided to play with the sand. He enjoyed this a lot, the sand was warm and soft. He was so happy and wished he would never have to go back up on the high up shelf in the caravan.

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Not long after that, Mia asked George if he would like to go and play in the rock pools. George said that he would, but he told Mia he would have to just sit on the edge, so that he didn’t get his fur wet.

The climb up to the rock pool was very difficult for George but he just managed it on his own.

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After looking at the rock pool, George decided he needed to sit down and rest. George was tired. Playing on the beach was very tiring. Daddy had put up the tent and George had a long rest. George thought Daddy was so clever for putting up such a lovely tent.

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It was soon time to go back to the caravan. On the way he heard Mummy telling Mia, Millie and Lois that they would need to pack their bags as they were leaving early in the morning. George felt very sad – now he knew that a weekend wasn’t a very long time after all. A weekend was a very short time indeed. George thought that he felt a tear running down his fur. He sniffed a very big sniff and tried to be brave.

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They walked back slowly and George enjoyed climbing over a very high gate.

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When they were back in the caravan the girls had a shower and went to bed. George had his own bed. It was much softer than his high up shelf. That was always very hard indeed.

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When morning came, George sat outside and watched as daddy, mummy and the girls started putting lots of things into their car. George felt sadder and sadder. Daddy took Mia, Millie and Lois down the beach once more, while mummy did the cleaning, but George did not go this time. He just sat sadly on his own, wishing that his new friends could stay a bit longer.

When the girls came back Lois took George and sat him in the car. George was very excited. He thought that Lois was going to take him home. George like the car. It had soft seats.

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But then George heard the keys being put back in the door. Just then the car door opened and mummy picked George up and took him back into the caravan. She put him on the settee while she tidied the cushions. George looked out and waved goodbye to the girls.

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The girls waved back – George felt very sad. Before he knew it Mummy picked George up, smiled a lovely smile, kissed George right on his nose and put him back on the high up shelf.

‘Be good!’ she whispered. As she turned around, she did not see a very big tear fall from his scratched eye right on to the high up shelf. Did you know that scratched eyes could cry?

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Today in a caravan in Cornwall that same little bear still sits waiting for his friends to return. As he waits he remembers the beach and the sand and the rock pools… but most of all he remembers three little girls who made him so happy.

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Stay safe little friend…..

 

Posted in Musings, Newberry Tours

Some days are diamonds….

I was called a ‘Chuffernutter’ today! I wasn’t sure if it was polite or not and I wasn’t sure if it was a complement or not. I smiled nervously as I gathered my thoughts!

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A few days ago my old buddy, Estate Agent Extraordinaire Mike Baker, asked me if I fancied a tour around the Barry Steam Train Depot in Barry. The answer I gave him was the same answer he would have got if he had asked a dying man who had just crawled across the Sahara Desert if he fancied a glass of water.

Having obtained a day pass from the lady of the house I got up very early and made my way down to Barry through the early morning rain. My instructions from Mike were to find Howes Garage near Barry Town Station and follow a map he had sent me.

I found the gate and rang Mike’s number… and as he was speaking an orange suited figure appeared from a distant building and I soon found the gates to paradise being opened. Mike looked like a real railway worker, nothing like the smooth Estate Agent I know!           Mike greeted me with a smile and a cheery handshake and welcomed me to the Barry Steam Shed. What followed reminded me of the old John Denver song, ‘Some days are diamonds, some days are stone…’

This was turning into a diamond day. It began with a tour of the shed when Mike introduced me to the trains and rolling stock and each piece was unique in its own way.

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Susan was a small steam train, one of only two of the kind built. The builder named them after his children, Susan and Timothy. Susan now lives in Barry; Mike was not certain of Timothy’s whereabouts.

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I climbed aboard and old DMU which is used for Santa Specials at Barry Island Station near Christmas.

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All the other pieces had wonderful stories attached to them and Mike told me about them like a master storyteller.

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This beast was once owned by the Channel Tunnel owners and was used to pull broken down engines out ion the tunnel. The equipment on the front can be pulled down to couple with French Trains.

 

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This fascinating vehicle is able to travel on road and rail. The wheels can be lifted to allow it to fit on a railway line.

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After the tour of the shed we had a cup of coffee and reminisced about the trains in the glory days.When we had finished our coffee others members of staff began to appear, one volunteer and one paid member od staff. I was introduced to them and as we were talking I looked across at Barry Town station. The 09:43 from Eastbrook was just pulling into Barry, the last stop before Barry Island. I must have had that certain look on my face because the guy asked me if I was a   ‘Chuffernutter?’

For a few moments I was not sure how to answer. I may have smiled nervously as I gathered my thoughts. I wasn’t sure if it was polite or not or if it was a complement or not.

I quickly deduced that a Chuffernutter was someone who loved trains. (Chuffer = Train and nutter = someone who loves something with a passion).

I am a Chuffernutter. It’s true! Guilty as charged.

We strolled back into the shed and I watched Mike as he was taking 1mm off a bolt to secure part of the line. He was using some kind of grinder and was going at it full speed and it looked pretty spectacular.

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As a volunteer for the day, I was assigned a few jobs. The first one was to help attach an O ring to the vacuum braking system on Susan, the only steam train in the shed. This we did with some difficulty, but eventually managed it after a number of trips to the tool box.

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We then tried (at least I just watched!) to repair an ancient battery/jump start charger. It was somewhat bigger than the one I use on my car. This one looked quite old a rusty and after a long period of huffing and sighing my co worker gave up and was trying to work out the cost of a new one under his breath.

What followed was unexpected and truly wonderful!

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Behind me one of the old trains burst into life. Thick diesel smoke began to fill the shed and the lads quickly opened all available doors to allow the fumes to escape. They must have noticed my worried look because I was told the smoke would run clear as the engine warmed up.

Then came the sweetest words I have heard for a long time. The answer must have been one he was expecting, because I was asked’ ‘Do you fancy a ride in the cab’

By the time he said you, I was up the steps and in the cab.

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Our trip was a short but complicated one. We were required to manoeuvre an old wagon to a different part of the yard to await the loading of some old sleepers. It necessitated a number of points changes, all expertly completed by Mike pulling on a range of levers.

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Sitting in the driver’s cab of this huge loco was just like a dream come true. My childhood ambition was to be a train driver. I am old now but the dream is still there. Today was getting pretty close to it! The sheer power of the loco was thrilling.

Sadly, as we pulled back into the shed, it was time for me to leave.

I had learnt some lessons…

I still dream of being a train driver…

Preserving these old locos and rolling stock is the work of loyal volunteers who work hard in unglamorous situations…

 

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But the most important lesson of the day….

I am a Chuffernutter…and proud of it!

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Michael… thank you!!

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Posted in Family, Travelling

Adventuring nearer home – Dinas Powys Quarry

Who knew that behind the big steel gates near Dinas Powys Common and St Andrews Major Primary School, lies a hidden gem of epic proportions?

 

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It’s Dinas Powys Quarry.

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Dinas Powys is my home. It’s a village – just- with a village centre, a village hall and an annual village show. It’s a village that the County Council and the Welsh government is trying to change forever with their big building programmes. We have, unusually it seems, a community council, our village is run by local people with a heart for our village. Dinas Powys is a community with a population of 8,800 at the last census and lies approximately 5.5 miles (9km) to the west of Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The village also has the remains of a Norman castle…

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….and the parish church of St Andrew’s dates from the 12th century.

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The population had remained static at about 300-400 until the second half of the 19th century when there was an influx into this thriving rural community, including a big contingent from the West Country.

The growth of the coal industry saw the first passenger train arrive in Dinas Powys on Sunday, December 20, 1898, and after that the population increased rapidly.

Dinas Powys is a thriving community with a wide range of voluntary organisations and social groups for residents to enjoy, as well as a variety of sports clubs. The Common, a large area of open space administered by Dinas Powys Community Council, is a popular recreation area, and organised sport is also played at Parc Bryn-y-Don and Murch Playing Field.

 

It’s also the home of Dinas Powys Quarry.

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The quarry was used to extract limestone. The limestone rock was first excavated by hand.   It was used in the building of Barry Docks and for the building of some of the older houses in the Dinas Powys area.   During the 17th Century a rocky outcrop above the quarry became the favourite seat of Hugh Lloyd after he was replaced as Rector of St. Andrew’s Church. This became known as ‘Cadair Yr Esgob’ (The Bishop’s Seat) as Lloyd became Bishop of Llandaff after the Restoration. Hugh Lloyd used to visit the quarry to sit and contemplate about his forthcoming sermons.

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Armed with a treasure map, which Mia had drawn for us prior to our departure, we set out one sunny Sunday afternoon to discover the old quarry for ourselves. Notices around the village have, for some time informed us that the quarry was for sale. That was an intriguing prospect. For sure future excavations would be impossible as the quarry is uneconomic and the public outcry that would follow any decision to reopen with many large lorries full of stone travelling through our village would put the furor over Charlotte Church’s recent party in the shade! But oh that I had the money to buy this little gem- a shy part of our community, hiding behind the great metal gates – and preserve it for all members of the village and the wider community to enjoy.

Out adventure took us across stiles, up paths, across fields and through dense woodland. The adventurers numbered twelve in total.

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The sight we met when we reached the cliffs above the quarry took our breath away.

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The quarry lay hundreds of feet below us. The silence was eerie. You could almost touch it! We spoke little during our early minutes here. At one time the place would have been a hive of activity… large machines digging, huge lorries carrying, massive cranes lifting and explosive dynamite blowing the cliffs apart.

Now, just silence. A silence broken only by the occasional flapping of the wings of the few ducks who have made the quarry their home. The water, reflecting the sun and clouds overhead, hid years of neglect and illegal dumping, its secrets hidden forever or so it seems.

Just silence.

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Our excitement broke the silence. We chatted, pointed things out and for a short time we sensed that the quarry enjoyed our company.

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In the distance the town of Barry, the Vale of Glamorgan’s biggest town. The lights of Jenner park stood proudly on the horizon. The stone from the quarry helped build Barry’s massive docks over a century ago. Beyond the town the Bristol Channel sparkled in the late afternoon sun.

Far below us we saw the roof and the chimney of the home of the current owner. He still lives there it seems. What stories it could tell!

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We stood for all long time in awe!

All too soon though, we needed to make the return journey. Our homes in the village beckoned us.

As we left the silence returned, wrapping itself around the acres of land which contained the quarry.

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We followed Mia’s map, back through dense woodland, fields, paths and stiles.

 

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As we neared our cars, we took time out to visit the village cemetery, which contains the graves of many of our friends – a little corner of Bethesda, a place full of memories of people we loved and who loved us. People who guided us, modelled life for us and shared our joys and sorrows. People who adventured with us.

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Our memories warmed us on a cold afternoon.

As we left, we looked back up the path to the old quarry… still silent.

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Posted in Family, Musings

Things I want my grandchildren to learn…

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The idea for the title of this is not entirely my own but all the thoughts most definitely are.

I became a grandfather at the ripe old age of 59 when Mia was born. It happened between two very traumatic events in my life. The death of both my parents.

Grow old along with me ~ the best is yet to come!

My father passed away in August 2009 and my mum left us in January 2010. God spared my mum just long enough for one cuddle of Mia, my eldest granddaughter, for that I am so grateful. Her passing came just a day or two after they met. My sadness is that neither my dad or mum ever got to know my beautiful grandchildren – oh how they would have loved them all! An added sadness is that they will never learn the important lessons of life directly from them. They had so much wisdom to offer; instead I will do my best to share with my precious grandchildren some of the lessons of life that my parents passed on to me, others I have learnt for myself, some have been passed on to me by friends and loved ones.

My wife, children and grandchildren are the greatest gift God will ever give to me, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in my hands. What I want to do is take time be with them, teach them to aim high, to have faith in God and also be someone in whom others can trust.

I don’t intend leaving just yet and trust God will spare me long enough to see these little ones grow into adults and maybe have families and kids of their own.

Here goes

My dear Mia, Alfie, Millie, Lois, Eli and Max,

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This is me when I was a boy. My mum made my jumper. It was dark green.

I am very proud to be able to call you my grandchildren. Each time one of you joined our family you came with great excitement. Always be assured you are loved! When you were born I was already ‘getting on a bit’. I hope to watch you grow up into fine adults with families of your own and as you make this journey, I just wanted to help you along the way. I hope as you read what follows with interest, knowing that what I have learnt about life will help you all become better people and that I can help make your journey through this life just a little easier. I am guessing only you and your loved ones will know if I helped at all.

Here are some things I really want you to learn, each one is important!

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  • Make it a priority above all else to find God.

Having a faith and understanding that God loves you unconditionally and without end will bring a meaning to your life and help you make sense of this world in which we live.

  • Model your lives on the teachings of Jesus.

You, of course, can read these in your Bibles. Here are some good ones to get you going. Try and find some others for yourselves. The effort you put into looking them up and putting them into action will be worth the effort! Trust me on this one!!

 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

  • Choose your life partner very carefully.

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Your lovely nan, my precious wife, is the most special person in the world to me. I trusted God to bring us together and He chose well. Being with her is just the best thing ever! Over the years we have changed each other for the better – we try to help each other become more kind and loving every day. We don’t always get it right, but we do our best. I’ve got to say your nan is better at it than me. As we are both Christians, we have tried hard to become more like Jesus. We are still a long way off but we try hard every day. We love each other unconditionally, just as Jesus loves us. I once wrote your nan a poem and I called it…’Perfect love knows no because…’  if you think hard about that title you will begin to understand. Here is a copy of the poem, I wrote it in France a long time ago…

Boo,

I don’t love you because of your beauty,

Although there is none on earth more fair.

It isn’t because of your love for me,

Wonderful and steadfast though it is,

Discounting all others your love is for me alone.

I don’t love you because of your charm and innocence,

Seeing only the best in people;

A more trusting and lovely soul my path has never crossed.

Neither is it your warm and caring nature,

Which protects, encourages and lifts me

Every moment of this life we share.

I just love you…

Perfect love knows no because.

Always remember marriage is God’s idea, and we need to love each other like he loves us.

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Your nan and I never have to earn each other’s love, we just know its always there and it grows every day. We see you, our grandchildren, as  special part of the love we have for each other. That’s why you are so special.

  • Think of your life as an adventure, because that’s what it is.

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If you think of life as an adventure, ordinary days will be special. Try and read some of the adventures I had with Alfie when he was very young. (www.rogernewberry.com)

In truth, they were ordinary days, doing ordinary things, but when you are with those you love simple things become special things.

  • See the bigger picture.

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In life you can’t always have what you want whenever you want it. Life is a struggle some times and you may feel overwhelmed by problems and difficulties. Keep strong, thing will always get better. Try and see the bigger picture! Also, you will need to work hard and save hard to get the things you need and want. You may be quite old by the time you can afford some of the things in life you always wanted, but somehow waiting for them makes having them extra special. For many people the early years of marriage and family life can be tough going – setting up a home is not easy, but worth the effort. Always try to see the bigger picture!

  • Use time wisely!

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You will know I have eight clocks in my study… all different, some quirky, but all remind me of the same thing. Time stops for no one! Once time has gone you can never get it back. Try and use it wisely.

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This plaque on my wall says it all. One day I hope one of you will have it on your wall. Look at it and think of me… and make the most of and enjoy every minute of your lives.

  • Have fun!

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It’s really up to you what you do with your life, but always make sure you have fun. Tell jokes, be a bit silly sometimes… Remember me as a grampy who loved to have fun!! Wear silly glasses if you need them, buy a bugle if you see one for sale… and a megaphone! If you feel like collecting football stickers when you are old… do it!!!

  • Travel

Even in my life time the world has become a much smaller place. When I was growing up and someone went on a plane to a different country, we had a family day out to go and wave them off.

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Now we can travel all over the world fairly easily. Travel opens your eyes to the wonders of the world, it helps you learn about yourself and more about other people and how they live.If you are open to it, travel will simply make you a more well-rounded human being. People you meet while on the road usually become some of the most valued ones in your address book, giving you points on the map to visit later on.

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These people give you a glimpse outside your hometown circle of friends, forcing you into new and refreshing perspectives on things. Make the most of any opportunity you have to see the world. Newberry Tours will look after you!

  • Perpetual sunshine produces a desert!

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I came across this quote some years ago on a calendar I used to keep on my desk when I taught in Cogan Primary School. It has stuck in my brain through all that time. It’s an intriguing thought. On the surface I guess it means that if every day has sunshine and no rain, eventually nothing will grow; you need rainy days to go with the sunny days to enable growth to take place.

In a way life is just like that!

If things always go smoothly and we never experience pain or heartache, then our lives become dry and barren. We cannot appreciate the good days in our lives, if we never go through those tough times. While we may hate them as we go through them, but when they are replaced by the happy times in our lives, we are able then to appreciate the good days because of the bad days.

  • Enjoy the journey of life… it’s a long one!

stationSo often, uppermost in your minds will be the final destination.  That time when you will say I have made it! On a certain day at a certain hour you will pull into the station.  There will be bands playing and flags waving.  And once you get there you will think so many wonderful dreams will come true.  So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of your lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.  How restlessly we pace the aisles, damming the minutes for loitering, waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.

However, sooner or later you will realise there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all.  The true joy of life is the trip.  The station is only a dream.  It constantly out distances us.

Psalm 118:24 says…

“This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad.  Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow.  Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob you of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.  Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less.  Life must be lived as we go along.  The station will come soon enough. And remember its’ always OK to stop and ask for directions, especially well advised on the one journey of life.

  • Aim high!

Michelangelo once said ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.’

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That to me sounds like good advice. It came to me when I was with Alfie when he was very young, we were in the games hall of our church. Alfie you picked up the basketball, looked up at the net and paused. I know what you were thinking. In your mind you had that ball through the ring.

I want the best for you all. I look at your parents and think about the mistakes Nan and I made as we were raising them, and then realised that when you came along we were … sort of… given another chance.  In life, aiming high is so important. I look back and regret the times in my life when I accepted second best or set the bar too low and achieved things without an effort. When I was a teacher, I tried always to give my pupils only the best, they deserved nothing less. I was always inspired by two saying I found on life’s journey. One was the motto of a school I drove past – ‘Excellence to all and from all’. Great advice on giving and expecting the best.

The other, a motto on the bottom of my desk calendar, – ‘What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.’

I will share with you the words of E. O. Wilson

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honourably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist!

The world needs all you can give.

 

  • If you tell the truth you will never have to remember what you said!

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  • Never be afraid to make mistakes.                                                                                      People who never made a mistake never learnt anything. Also, notice the mistakes of others and learn from them too and remember you don’t need to point them out!
  • Read the Bible as often as you can.                                                                                            You will be a better person because of it. Reading it every day and put into practice what you read is always the best way! The Bible has something relevant to say on just about everything and you can always trust its counsel.

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  • Remember it’s always a good idea to say grace and thank God for your food before you eat it.                                                                                                                                      There are many people in the world who would love to have the food you have. Many have nothing! Remember that in your prayers too!

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  • Respect and trust are not presents that are handed out, they must both be earned.                                                                                                                                             If you lose either one they are very difficult to get back. Very difficult.
  • Respect-and-TrustChildish and childlike are two very different things.

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Avoid the former and always choose the latter. I worked with children for forty years as a teacher in primary schools. One thing I know is that often, they taught me as much as I taught them! The most important thing I learnt is to look at the world through the eyes of a child, even when you have grown up. I still try hard to do this every day!!

Someone once wrote about this in a blog. Here is a summary of what she wrote and this is exactly what I think….

  1. Everything is new…

Kids are fascinated by everything because it’s all new to them. Every day is new to them, so everything seems exciting and full of possibilities.

  1. Everything is a learning experience…

Children are interested in learning as much as they can. How many times have you heard a child ask “why?” over and over and over again? They want to know everything!

  1. Everyone is a possible friend…

Children are always open to meeting new people. They want to smile and make friends and learn people’s names and what they do and why.

  1. You can be anything…

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” How many times were you asked this as a kid, and how many different answers did you have each time? Doctor one day, teacher the next, even a bin man, because how cool is it to hang on to the back of a moving truck? We shouldn’t limit ourselves to what seems right or practical, when we can think like a child and do what we really want.

  1. The world is full of possibilities…

This goes hand in hand with thinking you can be anything when you grow up. The world is full of possibilities and you can get in on any of them. Don’t limit yourself to certain things because of who you think you are, or how you think your job or family define you. If you’ve always wanted to be an artist, take a painting class and give it a try! If you want to write a novel, tackle the first chapter in your free time and find a writing support group. The fact is, the world is full of possibilities for everyone, not just children who haven’t really lived yet.

  1. You do things “Just Because”…

Too often adults think we always need to be doing something. If we’re not at work, you need to be reading or taking care of the house. If you’re stuck in traffic, why not listen to a podcast or audiobook? It’s great to make good use of your time, but you don’t always have to be doing something. Why not take time out to enjoy the sunshine, the breeze, sitting outside with friends or family? Your jobs will still be there when you’re ready to get to them.

  1.  You don’t care what people think…

Let’s be honest – this is the best part of being a kid, isn’t it? Getting dressed in a polka dot shirt and striped pants because that’s what you want to wear, and strutting your stuff in public, just proud that you dressed yourself. Imagine how free you’d feel if you didn’t care what people thought about you? Not to the extent you totally let yourself go, or become the office idiot, but just enough so that you do things you want to do without worrying what others will think – because, honestly, you never know what other people are thinking.

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Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy being child as long as you can. You will grow up soon enough. Your Nan tells me to grow up from time to time, but I don’t think I really want to! Not all the way anyway!!

  • Never do the lottery.

You will be wasting your money and be discontent thinking about all the good things you will buy. The Bible says ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ Learn to be content in all things,. There are millions of people all over the world who would love to have what you have. Be happy.

  • Be a good listener!

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People will appreciate that. When you are taking with somebody, look them in the eye when they speak and do not interrupt. Someone once said you have one mouth and two ears. Remember that!

  • Tell people often that you love them!

This is important because there may come a day when you wish you could!

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  • Practise hospitality

07-Rom12_13wideWhen you are grown up and you hopefully have a home of your own, make sure you let other people stay in it. When we could, your nan and I always let people use our home as their own., We had many young people visit us down through they years. These visitors enriched our life enormously. When we could we made a guest room and people from all over the word stayed in it. We loved having visits! Some were better than others but that is life! Be kind anyway.

 

I hope you find some of the above things useful. If you did, pass them on to your kids when you have them….

Lots of love grampy,

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Always remember… you are loved!

xxxxx

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Posted in Stories for my Grandkids

The Bear Nobody Loved – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Making friends

 

George was very nervous. It was a long time since anyone had visited the caravan. He was hoping there would be some children. George like it when children came to stay. Grown ups didn’t usually bother with him and they left him on his high up shelf.

He heard the keys turn in the lock and then he heard the door of the caravan open slowly…

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He put one leg over the edge of his high up shelf so he could get a better view.

Suddenly he heard a child’s voice. Then he heard another child’s voice and then another.

After that he heard the voices of the children’s daddy and mummy. The children were called Mia, Millie and Lois. They were very excited and ran about laughing and jumping on the seats. As Millie was jumping excitedly up and down she noticed George, he was looking down.

Millie stopped and stared.

Millie looked at George and George looked at Millie. He thought that Millie had a kind face. He hoped they could be friends.

‘Mia look!’ she shouted, ‘a bear… let’s play with him. Get him down Mia, get him down!’

Millie’s mummy said that the bear looked a bit old and dirty and that they were not allowed to play with him.

The girls were very sad.

‘Mummy can we give the bear a bath and then we can play with him?’ the girls said.

They felt sorry for the bear, he looked lonely up there on the high up shelf. Mummy said that she would, and she took George down and put him on top of the settee to look out of the window. George was very excited.

After they had unpacked all their cases, mummy took George very gently and gave him a bath in the washing up bowl.

Mummy looked closely at George. He wasn’t a very handsome bear. He had one eye missing and his other eye was very scratched.

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George thought that mummy had a very kind face. He loved having a bath. The water was warm and there were lots of bubbles.

George liked bubbles. The last time George had had a bath it was in a washing machine. George got very dizzy in the washing machine. That was the time he lost his eye.

Mummy washed George very gently and dried him with a towel. After that George was put outside on the line to dry.

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He was very uncomfortable with a peg on his ear, but he loved being out in the sunshine after being in the caravan for so long.

He could not hear anything out of his ear with the peg on, but in his other ear, if he listened carefully, he could hear the sound of children playing on the beach and he could hear the sound of the sea.

George loved the beach – he could not go in the sea; sea water was not good for his fur but he loved to climb rocks and build sandcastles and lay on a towel on the beach.

After he was dry, George was taken off the line and he was given a packet of his favourite snack. They were called Pom Bears.

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George was so happy. He felt a little tear trickle down his cheek. It wasn’t a sad tear; it was a happy tear. George was a happy bear.

He felt clean but most of all he felt happy because he heard Mia’s mummy say that after dinner they would be going down the beach.

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‘Can we take George to the beach? Millie asked.

‘Yes, of course you can,’ Mummy replied, ‘as long as you keep him out of the water.’ Millie and Lois promised that they would be very careful and that they would look after George.

Millie gave George a huge cuddle.

‘You’re coming the the beach; you’re coming to the beach!’ she shouted.

He smiled.

George felt, clean, happy and loved.

 

Chapter 3

George goes to the beach

Posted in Adventures with Alfie and Millie, Adventures with Mia and Millie, Mia.

The Great Seel Park Adventure

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We all decided that an Adventure trip to Seel Park was a good idea. The day was warm, but overcast – a great day for adventuring. The four intrepid explorers Mia, Alfie, Millie and Lois set of with rucksacks full of provisions enough to see them through. We set off a little before lunchtime hoping to make base camp by the time we needed food.

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It was a long, first treck for Lois’s little legs but we were in high spirits. It was a challenging journey up Chapel Close, through the dangerous gully, which borders Ray Shaw’s and then across the dangers of High Field Close before we reached the edge of the great wilderness of Seel Park. There were many dangers, but our trusty dog Belle helped ward off any trouble. Little Lois particularly found the trip hard but she walked every step of the way.

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We scaled the slope up to the playground area and found an ideal place to set up base camp. When we were settled, the kids left the lady of the house and me to set up the tent and establish camp while they ran off to investigate the surroundings. They found plenty of things to keep them occupied!

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When base camp had been established, we called the kids for lunch and rucksacks were opened and the plentiful rations were consumed quickly. We had fun!

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After lunch it was back to climbing, swinging and spinning. The mood in the camp was good and Team Leader Mia was, as usual, kindness itself watching over the younger ones, helping, encouraging and keeping them as safe as possible.

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The lady of the house watched on nervously as the little ones climbed, slipped from time to time and took risks to improve their performance, and they had the most wonderful time.

Greying skies overhead forced us to make for the jungle sooner than we had expected. Little Lois was left behind in base camp while Mia, Alfie and Millie guided by Sherpa Rog took off. We had left our bags and anything that would slow us time back with the support team led by Nanna Newberry.

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We left the field and entered the jungle slowly, we knew not what dangers lay ahead. Feeling confident Alfie and Mia ran ahead, Millie preferring to stay near her guide. She let out several ear-piercing screams as she saw ‘bugs’ and once even saw a dreaded butterfly. Alfie, as usual, found a stick for protection. We walked a long way down, the green undergrowth was thick and made things quite dark and scary at times.

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Several times we reached a fork in the track and the little ones looked for guidance.

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Eventually we made to the bottom, where we found a locked gate with barbed wire blocking our progress. Undaunted, we took turns at climbing over. We all helped keeping the brambles away as we overcame this obstacle. Disaster struck as we reached to top of the field looking for a return to base camp. There was no way through, so we had to retrace our steps, climb over another locked gate before heading up another field.

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We crossed several dangerous stiles, before we saw base camp away in the distance.

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The reunion was sweet with so many stories to tell.

Back in HQ the explorers were weary but Millie had just enough strength to build herself a cushion bed before drifting off to sleep to dream about jungles and thorns and bramble and bugs.

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We had fun!

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Posted in Family

Doris Catherine Wilson

Tribute to Doris Wilson

Always my Aunty Doris

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(Bishop Trent)

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white

sails to the morning breeze and starts

for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength

I stand and watch her until at length

she hangs like a speck of white cloud

just where the sea and sky come

to mingle with each other

and someone at my side says ‘She is gone.’

Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.

And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout – There she comes!

That is what dying is ~a horizon and just the limit of our sight.

………………..

We have come together this afternoon to thank God for the life of a remarkable lady, Doris Catherine Wilson, but to me always my aunty Doris, the best storyteller I ever knew!!

I am honoured to speak on behalf of the family and pay tribute to someone who played such a special part in all our lives. Doris was special; she was a people person. She was someone who believed in people.

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We come together today not only to mourn her passing but also to celebrate her life.

Doris was born on 5th December 1921 to William and Florence Surringer who lived in Sophia Street in Tiger Bay, Cardiff. Life in that part of the city was tough in those days. Doris grew up well cared for and loved. She was married at 18 years of age to William Wilson, who was home on leave from the forces. Straight after the wedding he was called away to serve his country in Gibraltar for two years.

Bill and Doris were blessed with 5 wonderful children, Billy, Ian, Jamie, Neil and Barbara.

During the war years Doris worked in a shop, whilst beginning the job of raising her family.

After the war she skilfully balanced the needs of her growing family with a full time job in Lloyds Foundry in Cardiff. It was hard, hot and heavy work where her job as a pourer brought her into close proximity to the furnaces…                                                                          It also brought her into close proximity to a close group of friends and each day Doris would cook their breakfast and lunch on the brazier in the foundry. She loved to look after people ~ people were her life!   This was evident all the way through her life. Children were everything, especially her own children, who remained so close to her right to the end.

Doris had a generous heart. At one time she was in hospital receiving treatment. In an adjoining bed was a young Algerian lady called Aziadi with her daughter Nesli. She was a stranger but on hearing of her child care difficulties Doris offered to look after the young Nesli while Aziadi was at her studies. Later on when the family had to move out of their flat, again Doris came to the rescue and gave the family a home for over a year – a huge commitment that just typifies Doris’s caring ways. Nesli now lives in Edinburgh and Aziadi is back home in Algeria, but there will always be a very special place in their hearts for ‘Nanny Doris’.

Doris made everyone feel special and everyone was special to her. She was wonderful at caring for people – her dear husband Bill in his later life needed many months of full time care as did her mum, my Nan ~ Doris freely gave that care at no thought to her own health needs. She would never hear talk of putting them in hospital or a home; she would look after them, come what may. She probably saved the NHS many thousands of pounds. When the doctor came calling he would often refer to their little house in Llanedeyrn as Mrs Wilson’s Ward. She had Bill in one room and her mum in another both receiving the very best care!

Testimony to her loving care for those she loved!

Doris was a survivor and overcame a number of great sadnesses in her life.

  • In 1966 there was the motorcycle accident involving her youngest boy Neil It left him with severe difficulties throughout his life.
  • In 1992 the loss of Ian in tragic circumstances, followed by her husband Bill and then her mum and in more recent times the passing of Neil, took its toll.                           Throughout she endeavoured to remain strong, the rock on which her family could rely. She never let them down and she has left them with a remarkable legacy.  She was so proud of her family.  She leaves 9 grandchildren
  • Jeanette and Paul
  • Craig and Debbie
  • Tracey and David
  • Joanne and Nicola
  • Julie
  • …. and one adopted (Unofficial) granddaughter Vicky. To all you grandchildren I will, say this you were all special to your Nan; treasure her memory.

and 11 Great grandchildren

  • Michelle, David, Emily and Jake, Jack, Kyle, Rachel, Ross, Grant, Mere Florence and Lucca (the twins!!) As you grow up I hope you will appreciate what a great person your great grandmother was!

The family have asked me to pass on their thanks too to some very special people in Doris’s life.

  • Joyce, Neil and Caroline and their children Rees and Donna. Joyce met Doris when she became carer for Bill during his long illness and I am sure you are not surprised that she soon became a close family friend, Doris was like that. Joyce, Neil and graham from the bottom of our hearts… Thank you for your love and kindness.

Also

  • Val from Monmouth. They met by accident but in recent times Val would travel from Monmouth almost every day to see Doris and make sure she was OK. Val ~ thank you. Your kindness was appreciated.

Doris believed in God and now she is at rest with her heavenly Father, which is far better.

I leave you with another poem, which I believe Doris could have written herself…

She is gone.

We can shed tears that she is gone
or we can smile because she has lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or we can open our eyes and see all she’s left for us to remember.

Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see her
or they can be full of the love we shared together.

We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday
or we can be happy for tomorrow because of our yesterdays.

We can remember her and only that she’s gone
or we can cherish her memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs
or we can do what she would want:

Smile,

Open our eyes,

Love each other…

…and go on.

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The following letter was written by Tracy Scheff, Aunty Doris’s granddaughter who lives in the U.S.A. Tracey would have loved to have been present at the funeral, but it was not possible. This very personal and loving letter shows clearly the love between this incredible lady and the granddaughter who treasured her! In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of losing, Doris I attach it here with Tracy’s permission.

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My letter to Nanny.

February 15, 2007
To my Nanny,
My heart is broken today. I lost my beloved Nanny Wilson. My true Nanny, my favorite Nanny, my special Nanny. Even though you were 3,000 miles away, you were always very close to my heart. I always wished you lived here in the US with me and my other grandmother was living in Wales.
From the moment I met you, I felt an instant connection even though I was only three years old. You were everything a perfect grandmother is but much more. You were caring, witty, sensitive but strong, compassionate, smart, loving, you had a tremendous love for your family, you had this fire inside that you would do ANYTHING for your children, grandchildren, family, friends, other children in need, you were selfless, always caring about other people, you never forgot a birthday, holiday, or special event. I can go on and on. I admire your qualities and strive to be just like you. I feel like we share so many of those qualities. I’m proud you are my grandmother.
All of my memories of you are fond ones. From my first visit to Wales at three, I remember the special room you had made up just for your grandchildren. From the baby dolls, to the little cars I used to play with on the mat in front of your front glass door, I remember how the light would shine through and make different colors on the mat, to the little white peddle car with the big red number on it. I loved that car, I wanted to take on the road, but I remember only being allowed to play with it on your patio, it was still fun anyway.
I remember my second visit when I was nine. You had a Birthday party just for me, with decorations and cake. I felt so special. I remember you giving me money to go to the local store and get my favorite strawberry yogurt. I think I ate all of the ones you had in your refrigerator. I remember you and Granfy making my favorite toast with the bread you had to cut and the yummy butter slathered on.
I remember my third visit when I was 18, you couldn’t believe how much I’ve grown. You kept thinking I was a little girl. I remember and miss your squeeze hugs. I do the same thing to my children all of the time. I squeeze them tight not wanting to let go.
I have nothing but fond memories. Memories that make me smile. I remember how much you spoiled my children. I remember the packages you sent, the candy, the clothes. I felt bad for just the amount of money it cost you just to send the package alone, but knew you enjoyed it.
I remember your visits to the US. I remember what you had to go through to get on a plane and be in a car for a long period of time. I knew how claustrophobic you were, but you didn’t let that stop you. I couldn’t wait to spoil you. It was now my turn. I loved getting you presents, especially trying to make sure whatever I bought said “made in the USA”. I wouldn’t dare buy you anything that said “made in France”. I loved buying you things that meant something special to you. I know how much you loved photos, so I always made sure it had something to do with photos. Whether it was the locket I got you with a picture of David and me in it or the wooden photo box that I had engraved for you.
I have a special gift for that you I was not able to send to you in time. I’m very sad that you didn’t get to see it because I know you would have loved it. It is a tin of butterscotch candy (I know how much of a sweet-tooth you have) with a picture of Corey, Kyle, Rachel and myself in front of the Disney World Cinderella Castle scanned right onto the tin. I will save the tin and always remember you when I look at it. I will keep it exactly the way it is and not let anyone ever touch a piece of candy in it. It is for you.
My heart aches, my tears flow, but I am comforted to know that you are looking down from heaven with Granfy, Uncle Ian and Uncle Neil. When Rachel and Kyle asked why I was crying when I found out about your passing, I told them that Nanny Wilson is in heaven and you have another guardian angel watching over each of you. I will teach my children all about you and what an amazing, wonderful, caring, strong great-grandmother they had.
I hope you know how much you meant to me, how much I love you and thought the world of you. I will miss you, never forget you and always remember you. I love you my Nanny. I will not say goodbye, but see you again one day.
Love your granddaughter,
Tracy

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Posted in Stories for my Grandkids

The Bear Nobody Loved

Chapter 1

George was a bear that nobody loved. He lived all on his own in a caravan down by the seaside. George was a lonely bear.

DSC08126It hadn’t always been like that. A long time ago George was loved. He used to live in a big house in the country with two children Ben and Lucy.

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George belonged to Ben who used to play with him every day and took him to bed every night. George was a present for Ben when he was born and he was a bear who was loved very much indeed – but that was a long time ago.

Ben was now grown up and he thought he was too old to play with bears, so George was taken to the caravan by the seaside and used as an ornament. He was put on a shelf high up in the caravan and that’s where he stayed –

day after day,

week after week,

month after month and

year after year.

George didn’t like being used as an ornament, he wanted to be played with and loved by a child. He wanted to have adventures and be a brave bear. He wanted to have cuddles at night-time. No one cuddled George any more. He just sat on the high up shelf in the caravan down by the seaside.

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Ben’s family did not visit the caravan any more, so it was very quiet all the time. In the summer it was very hot and in the winter it was very cold. Sometimes George could hear the seagulls walking on the roof of the caravan. Even the seagulls had friends, but George had no one. He was a very lonely bear.

ximmSometimes George thought that if he were more handsome perhaps a child would love him again. George only had one eye and the one eye he did have was all scratched and George couldn’t see very well. 

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If you cover one eye with your hand and screw your other eye up you will have an idea what it was like for George as he sat on the high up shelf in the caravan down by the seaside.

One day everything changed – one wonderful, glorious, happy day. George had been sitting quietly on his high up shelf. It had been a hot sunny day and just as the sun was setting George heard a car pulling up outside his caravan. As he listened, he heard the car doors being opened and the sound of children’s excited voices. Then he heard the most exciting sound he had heard for a very long time – it was the sound of the keys being put into the caravan door.

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Suddenly he heard the door opening slowly….

Posted in Stories for my Grandkids

Noman the Snowman – Chapter 2

Chapter 2

‘I like you,’ Alfie said to Noman.

Alfie loved Noman’s stick arms. Alfie loved to pick up a stick every time he went for a walk. He thought it would be fun to have sticks for arms.

Alfie began to wish he was a snowman.

snow6 Noman was happy; he liked it when people said he could be their friend. Alfie stared hard at his new friend. He wondered what it was like to be a snowman. He didn’t think he would like to be a snowman. He thought it would be a bit cold. Alfie liked to be warm and especially enjoyed cuddles with his mummy and daddy.

‘Do you like being cold all the time?’ asked Alfie.

‘Yes I do,’ said Noman. I love it. ‘What I don’t like is the rain and the sun, they are not good for me.’

Just then Mia and Millie came running back out into the garden. Noman hoped they would not mention his green, sticking out teeth.

Now it was Mia and Millie’s turn to stare at Noman.

Noman was a bit worried.

‘Why are you wearing sunglasses?’ Millie asked him quietly. Millie had a lovely pair of sunglasses but she only wore them in the summer when she went to the beach in Cornwall.

‘I wear sunglasses because I want to be a cool snowman and besides when I was made, my owner didn’t have any coal to use for my eyes,’ Noman replied in a voice nearly as quiet as Millie’s.

snow6‘I like them,’ said Millie, ‘they suit you. You do look like a cool snowman. I am sad you have got no coal for your eyes.’

Noman thanked Millie for saying such kind things, he was not used to children saying nice things. Most of his old friends only made fun of him and his green, sticking out teeth.

Now it was Mia’s turn to ask her new friend a question.

‘Where are your daddy and mummy?’ she enquired. ‘Are you here on your own?’

Noman told the three children that he didn’t have a mummy or a daddy and that snowmen usually just lived on their own.

Mia, Millie and Alfie felt sad; they all loved their mummies and daddies very much, they were sad that their new friend didn’t have a daddy or a mummy.

Millie thought they could adopt Noman and he could live in their garden all year. She would ask he mummy later.

‘Do you have any friends?’ Alfie asked him, trying not to look at his green, sticking out teeth, which had started to chatter in the cold.

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‘I have three friends, but I don’t see them very often. One of them looks just like me and he wears sunglasses and a scarf too, but my best friend is called Olaf. He is very famous and he is a film star. We have been friends for a long time.’

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Mia was so excited to hear this. She loved to watch Olaf in her favourite film.

Noman told Mia that he wanted to be in a film too but no one asked him because of his teeth.

Mia looked at Noman’s teeth. They did look a bit green, but she thought that he still looked very handsome.

snow6“One of my friends is very rich, Noman told the children, ‘he lives in a big house and he has a real hat to wear on his head.’

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Mia remembered  the snowball hat she had made for Noman. She wished she could give Noman a nice hat just like his friend.

snow11Just then Mia’s mum called them in for dinner and they said goodbye to Noman. They asked him to wait in the garden till they came back out. Noman said he had nowhere else to go and that he would see them later.

Noman felt happy to have three such lovely new friends.

Posted in Musings

10 reasons why I love the plug@13a…

The Plug is a small, independent coffee house in Dinas Powys.

In June 2014 it looked like this…

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10246723_789848507706610_4578536307210303910_nA year on it looks very different…

Pete and Rachel Lewis transformed this former flower shop into something quite stunning…

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The Plug opened in June 2014. It really is the most wonderful place. Here are ten reasons why I love visiting this little gem…

This is what the owners have to say….

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We opened The Plug to serve great coffee. We knew it wasn’t just going to be a job but it was going to become our life. When you’re passionate about something you work tirelessly. I have watched Pete pour his heart & soul into The Plug every single day for the last six months & the six months prior to opening. There are no words to say how proud of him I am.

The Plug was also always going to be about people. We wanted to get to know everyone that came in….we had no idea how many new friends we would make. Everyday we’ve had great conversations with people we didn’t know before. Ask the right questions & you’ll discover how truly fascinating people are. We value every single person that has come through our door.

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  • The owners Pete and Rachel. These young people are living out their dream of creating a high class, friendly, intimate coffee house and they have gathered us all in to share in it.DSC07961
  • The waitress – Bes is just delightful. 10480988_826102334081227_6042917103744396943_nHelpful and friendly with time for a chat, now a Barista in her own right. She managed things beautifully while Pete and Rachel took a holiday recently. Bes is becoming an expert and with her husband Alex is a vital part of all that happens in The Plug.10614101_10205951497723264_1219223503983335817_n 11110874_10206306969009824_891927428731466182_n Bes’s artwork…the tulip…
  • The position – set right in the centre of the pretty village of Dinas Powys in The Vale of Glamorgan. The Plug has breathed new life into our village.
    DSC07996DSC07993DSC07992I very rarely used to visit the village centre but now do so every day – in fact since The Plug opened I have only missed visiting for one day, apart from when I am away.
  • The coffee – beautiful coffee sourced from the best independent coffee roasters. The coffee is expertly made and freshly ground to order. Pots of tea are also available, as well as cold drinks.DSC07955DSC07957DSC07956Unknown
  • The food – right from the start Pete and Rachel decided on a limited menu of high-class foods..DSC0795811008463_978724118819047_5349640578039600483_nBread is sourced from high quality, independent bakers and cakes are made on site and fresh every day. Stunning!   DSC07977
  • A great meeting place – The Plug is such a great place to meet friends, small tables or the large table by the door, all offer a great place for a chat with old friends or make new ones!      DSC07959DSC07964DSC07984
  • Courses – Pete runs a coffee brewing course on a regular basis. They are just brilliant and give such a great insight into the fascinating world of coffee.  
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  • Music – Pete plays a great selection every day…. And will even let you choose what you want to listen to. It’s never too loud but loud enough to create a lovely atmosphere.Music Background With Different Genres and Types
  • Payment – you can pay in so many ways… cash, credit card, debit card, PayPal via your smartphone or you can even buy a gift card to keep you going for a few daysDSC07973Once or twice I have turned up without money and was allowed to pay on my next visit….
  • The loo!!! – wonderful!         DSC07982

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I like The Plug… a lot!
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Posted in Family

A love story

Slightly updated with pictures added…..

Ramblings of a retired teacher

A love story

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Jack and Phyll Newberry

In the dark days towards the end of the Second World War, a young girl, Phyll Surringer had made her way to the Celtic Ballroom in Newport Road in Cardiff. She was with her friend Winnie Northway, both were young and both were sitting waiting to be asked to dance. As they waited, in walked a handsome young soldier who was home on leave.  He was looking for a good evening as he enjoyed precious time at home, away from his barracks in Bulford, Salisbury. He was there doing his duty preparing to serve king and country in Europe pushing the German army back through Europe.

As Phyll saw him she pointed him out to Winnie and said that if she were ever to marry it would be to him. She could never have possibly known how prophetic those words were and how…

View original post 3,445 more words

The Station

Good to read this again!

Ramblings of a retired teacher

The True Joy of Life is the Trip

  

 TUCKED AWAY in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision.  We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent.  We’re travelling by passenger train, and out of the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

     But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.  On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station.  There will be bands playing and flags waving.  And once we get there so many wonderful…

View original post 324 more words

Posted in Thanks for a life

Mick Hunt – my friend


 Mick Hunt – my friend.

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This is a copy of my memories of my friend, given at the Service of Thanksgiving for his life in Birkenhead, near Liverpool on Tuesday 26th May 2015. I shared these memories with the family – a family we did not know at the time – but who have now become our dear friends.

We have travelled 216 miles to be with you today and need to travel 216 miles back home later but today miles mean nothing, it’s a privilege to be with you all as we celebrate my friend Mick’s life. Last week we were in Spain and I would have travelled back from there if I it meant I could be with you all on this special day. Mick was our friend. We loved him dearly!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this lovely man.

Mick and I met sometime in the 1980s I guess, when Mick came with a friend called Clive Williams to run Open Air Mission beach meetings on Barry Island beach in The Vale of Glamorgan. Mick and Clive made a superb double act. Different as chalk and cheese but men who shared a common desire to share the Christian message with anyone they could. After experiencing trouble in Barry, where their vans were stoned and broken into, they parked their caravans on our church car park at Bethesda Chapel in Dinas Powys. My wife Jean and I were Youth Leaders at the time and we became very friendly and a friendship soon grew with the young people and us and it led to Mick spending a lot of time in our home.

Mick and I too, were very different in many ways, but that only sought to bring us close. Mick was my spiritual father and taught me so much about life and living life as a Christian. We spent many hours talking about Christian things. He was just a wonderful man. I loved to hear him preach and Jean and I, and anyone else who was around, used to sit enthralled, as he would tell us stories about his work with the Open Air Mission, especially his escapades with his dear old friend Clive. The story of Clive’s visit to a hospital with gallstones is forever etched on our memories. Clive, in desperate pain, struggling with a hospital gown, putting it on the wrong way around and Mick struggling to protect Clive’s modesty, while comforting and encoring his old friend. I still giggle every time the story comes to my mind. He shared with us many anecdotes, like the ones about being made to listen to Clive’s LP records of steam train sound effects and bird songs. Visits to the famous Dai Woodham train scrapyard in Barry were a must for Clive every year and Mick always tagged along.

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Even after he retired he would often drive down to spend time in our home. We loved him and the whole church loved him. He even spent holidays with us when he could. When we were in Craven Arms, Tewkesbury and Dulverton in Devon and many other places, he joined us and we spent happy times together.

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I think he loved us in South Wales. We certainly loved him.

One special memory I have is about an old Bible. During one visit to us in the early nineties Mick was admiring my new loose leaf Bible, he said he had been looking for one like it for ages. As he was leaving at the end of the visit, I ran after him and gave him the Bible. At first he refused it, but eventually took it with him. During the years he had it, he used it well and we often spoke about it. Several months ago he gave it back to me. It’s one of my greatest treasures. I gave it to him brand new. He returned it battered and stuck with sellotape… and full of sermons! During the time he had it that Bible and the messages he preached will have touched many lives for good. I will NEVER give it away again!

We made many visits to see Mick and once joined him in Chester Market, where he had a stall selling Christian books, cards and stuff like that!

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 Mick with Kate.

In 1991 Mick came to us with an idea. He had recently got involved with a charity called Operation Christmas Child based in Wrexham. It took aid out to Romanian orphanages.

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He wanted our church Young People’s Choir to come up to Wrexham and sing in a concert at the William Ashton Hall. We did it and had such a great time performing and meeting Mick’s family for the first time.

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As far as I can see Mick only had one real bad flaw in his character. He was a Chelsea fan and my son Gaz and I would tease him endlessly about it. We tried hard over the years to convert him to supporting a proper team like Manchester United but we failed. Mick would have left us earlier this month happy that his beloved Blues were the champions! I will miss those happy times.

One thing for sure is that he loved his family. He spoke of you all constantly and I teased him all the time about the fact that he gave all his girls the same first name… Our Bev, Our Amanda and Our Marie.

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To you, his family, daughters, sons in law, grandchildren… let me tell you this…you all meant the world to him. Every time I was with Mick he spoke affectionately and at length about you.

If I am honest I don’t think he ever really got over losing your mum, which, I believe, was a sadness he always carried with him. He loved her. He loved you all and spoke proudly of you and all the things you had done done. When Rebecca rang to tell us the sad news of Mick’s passing, it was as if we knew her.

Jean and I were so very grateful for the phone calls from Bev and Rebecca, when you let us know of Mick’s passing. I told Mick constantly that I was worried if any thing happened to him I would want to know. It always brought a chuckle from him. He said he would arrange it… and he did. Thank you so very much, although it was the phone call I always dreaded.

Mick meant so much to us in our family and in our church in South Wales. In the eyes of the world maybe just a simple man who had a tough start in life, but to us a true friend, a Christian brother and a truly great man.

Treasure your memories and always be proud of your dad. We will always love him and will certainly never forget him.

Talk about him often. Talk about him with each other and keep his memory alive. Always remember the love that he had for his children and grandchildren, the community and the poor times of his childhood. Remember the fun times and there were so many of these! The Bible tells us – there’s a time to mourn and a time to laugh. Remember his example.

Mick loved people, hence his work with the Open Air Mission and he had a way of drawing out the best from people.

He taught us all that no matter who you are or whatever hardship you face you are always able to GIVE and always able to LOVE.

Our biggest gift to him now is to be thankful that he is at peace and to seek to be as strong and courageous in our loss as he was in throughout his wonderful life.

Let us promise that the good Mick showed to us in his life, we will now show to others and keep his memory alive!

……………………………………………………………………………………….

 A few friends from South Wales have sent their love and best wishes.

Llinos and Graeme Burt

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I’ll never forget helping at Barry Beach Mission with Mick. He was such a lively character. I’m grateful for the opportunity he gave us as 15/16 year olds to try new things. It was Mick who encouraged us to play Clive’s accordion. The kids loved him – even with his tattoos!

 Jason and Kate Erickson

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Mick was a great man of God, I always remember his passion for Jesus in life and in the beach missions he did with Clive! We spent many great holidays in Devon and Cornwall, often debating how much he disliked Man United lol 🙂

A rough and ready, tough looking, kindhearted man of God… I loved him!

Natalie Rolley

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Mick was such a lovely man.  Still remember him putting a tattooed finger into my son Stephen’s mouth when he was about 4 weeks old to comfort him. Jean and I were looking at each other in horror, but knowing he meant no harm. I’m so saddened to hear the news but know heaven has now got an amazing character with the biggest heart xxx

Sharon Wilson

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Loved working with Mick as a teenager at the holiday clubs, so many memories of being on Barry Island beach and the caravan parked out the back of the church. Over the years Mick became a dear friend, who visited us on many of our group Easter holidays. Visited him once in Coedpoeth and we were touched that he had been out to buy us cakes and croissants for breakfast.

Gareth and Keri Newberry

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Mick was brilliant and a great friend. We talked about anything, but especially we loved talking football. My favourite Mick saying? ‘He’s a lemon!… an absolute lemon!’ I loved his stories of his travels with his sidekick Clive Williams and the other stories of preaching in the tough parts of Liverpool and the time he got his car wheels nicked! Priceless!! He was a great friend to my dad and a great friend to me.

 Bethany Davies

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I loved it when Mick came to visit us.  I was really young. I remember he slept in the downstairs bedroom and always got up early to read his Bible. He used to walk around with me standing on his feet. I really loved Mick – I will miss him.

Lisa Newberry

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I will always think of Mick and smile at the banter we used to have! I loved that full on mickey taking (no pun intended!) that you used to get with him and the fact that you always knew that he only did it because he liked you and enjoyed the challenge! I won’t go into the time that we visited him (Sharon refers to it!) and I had food poisoning from an Ogmore Vale custard slice…. Bad times

Heidi Trotman

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Ahhh…. Mick a great friend and a great character. Many happy memories of time spent with Mick in Dinas Powys.

Mark and Julie Thompson

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We have spent so many happy times with Mick over the years. We especially enjoyed coming to Wrexham, where I conducted the choir. A great man with a great heart! Much missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

Jean Newberry

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Mick was a true friend in every sense of the word. He shared our home, he shared our church and he shared our lives. He was funny, genuine and one of my very best friends. Rog and I adored him.

Kevin Welch

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Only heard him speak once, but what a story. He’s in a better place now.

…………………………………………..

 

 

He is gone.

We can shed tears that Mick is gone

or we can smile because he has lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that he’ll come back

or we can open our eyes and see all that he’s left for us to remember.

Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see him

or they can be full of the love we shared together.

We can turn our back on tomorrow and live for yesterday

or we can be happy for tomorrow because of our yesterdays.

We can remember him and only that he’s gone

or we can cherish his memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs

or we can do what Mick would want:

Smile,

Open our eyes,

Love each other…

…and go on.

Post Script

We attended Mick’s funeral, or better put the Thanksgiving service for his wonderful life and Tuesday 26th May 2016. The funeral was held in Landican Crematorium in Birkenhead.

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The service was held in the beautiful South Chapel, which was such a lovely setting. Proceedings were led by Rob Jeffs a wonderful old man who sounded so like Mick when he spoke. He was superb! Friendly, funny and serious at different times, just when he needed to be, He put the family at ease and reminded us  what an amazing character Mick was. The truth of Mick’s Christian faith shone through so clearly. It was a service which honoured God and helped us all give thanks for the wonderful life that Mick lived. Unlike any other crematorium I have ever visited, the service was relaxed and we never felt rushed. After the service we introduced ourselves to the family and instantly new friendships began.

The wake followed at The Basset Hound, nearby hostelry. This, too, was a lovely place, homely and friendly. We were given a private space where we shared stories of Mick. Mick’s family are wonderful and we saw immediately why he loved them so much.UnknownWe had a beautiful time with Mick’s family and left with armloads of food from the buffet for our long journey home.

After leaving The Basset Hound, we made one last emotional journey to see Mick’s bungalow. Mick lived in Bethany Crescent in Bebington. This is a lovely crescent of bungalows built in 1927 by a chap called Archie Boulton.

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The trust that was set up in his name is listed in the charity commission as

A H BOULTON TRUST

TO AID THE ERECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF BUILDINGS USED FOR THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL, RELIEVING THE SICK OR NEEDY OR OFFERING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS CONSIDERED TO BE DESERVING BY THE TRUSTEES

Mick was offered a home here because of his long commitment of preaching the Christian message which meant so much to him.

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We looked in through the window of his bungalow, and it was as if he had just left. His old chair was there – empty now – and the picture Becky Thomson had drawn on one of the holidays Mick had been with us, was on the fireplace as it always was. His Chelsea picture was there too… We thought and talked about Mick, smiled a bit, shed a tear or two but above all else left happy because of this lovely man who had made such an impact on our lives.

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Thank you Mick!

Posted in Family

A Thanksgiving Service for the wonderful life of Beatrice Elsie Musgrove.

A Thanksgiving Service for the wonderful life of

Beatrice Elsie Musgrove.

Monday 24th November 2014 at Bethesda Chapel, Dinas Powys,

Vale of Glamorgan.

UK

The service was led by Roger Newberry


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Heavenly Father, We come into your presence in the name of your Son, our Saviour The Lord Jesus Christ. In all our dealings we acknowledge you as Sovereign Lord. Be with us here this morning to comfort, to guide our thoughts and to help us worship You for Your love and as we honour the memory of this wonderful lady.

Amen.

Opening thoughts

On behalf of Beat’s family, I would like to thank each one of you for being here today… and though today is a very difficult day the family do not want it to be a day of mourning but a day of celebration. Today we come to remember Beat’s life and reminisce over all the special moments that we had with her.

Beat was a lovely lady. She was kind, thoughtful and was as honest as the day is long. We haven’t come to Bethesda Chapel today because Beat has died, we have come because she lived and her life touched ours for good. We are here today to celebrate her wonderful life.

In the difficult times of life I often find that our words often fall short of what we would like them to say. But it is then that the Eternal Word of God speaks to us with peace and understanding, all we need to do is listen!

These words come from Psalm 46, Beat’s favourite Bible passage; they written many centuries ago. They may seem like ancient dusty history to many who look from a distance. But if we listen, as Beat did, the Bible speaks to us with words that can bring comfort and hope.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

As a famly we hope and pray that those of us who mourn will find comfort and strength from today as we celebrate Beat’s wonderful life.

We would do well to remember that this life is really a preparation for the Life to come, and for those of us who love God, when we have accomplished our work on Earth we are called to continue that work in a better place, where there is neither death, nor pain, nor crying.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”

Ps. 116:15

That which is so dark and heart-rending to us, in this case, is precious in God’s sight—one of His children has gone home. Beat has gone – from struggles and weariness of this life into a better place.

 Gone From My Sight

 I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other and someone at my side says ‘She is gone.’ Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.


And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout – There she comes!


That is what dying is – a horizon and just the limit of our sight.

Hymn – What a friend we have in Jesus

Reading: Psalm 46  –  Read by Gareth Newberry

Psalm 46 – For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A song.

 

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,

the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth.

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the shields with fire.

He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.’

The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Prayer

Heavenly father we acknowledge your presence here, and come into your presence this morning as family and friends of dear Beatie. We are here because we love her and miss her and we want to cherish our memories of her, we want to honour her life and honour her and support one another as we grieve her passing from us – a passing from life here with us to everlasting life there with you O Lord.

Father, we thank you for Beat! You formed her, you knew her, you walked with her through 91 years, and even now we have confidence that she is in your presence.

We thank you that you are a God of mercy, who promises to comfort us, particularly when we lose our loved ones, and so in these moments now, and in the weeks and months ahead, please bring comfort and mercy to us as we remember, and share fondly all that this lovely lady was to us.

In the name of Jesus our Saviour we pray.

Amen.

A poem read by Mercedes Musgrove – Death is nothing at all.

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other,

That, we still are.

 

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way,

which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

 

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word

that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect.

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

 

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind

because I am out of sight?

 

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

All is well.

 

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

 Henry Scott Holland

Eulogy  –  Gareth Musgrove on behalf of the family

On behalf of my brother, Rob, and sister, Jean, I would like to share some memories of my mother’s life with you today. Mum was born in November 1922 (and would have been 92 last Monday) in Cardiff where she lived with her dad George, her mother May and seven brothers and sisters.

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May, Gertrude, Ethel, William, George, Idris then Beat and soon after Grace.

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The family home for the young Bateman family was in Knowle Street, Grangetown. Bringing up eight children today would be a huge struggle, and I can barely comprehend what life in the 20’s would have been like.

It must have been devastating for the family, when, at the tender age of 42, George, Beat’s father passed away; she was only 3 years of age.

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When mum reached her teens, she watched her beloved brothers go to war and Beat being Beat, wanted to do her bit, and often told us of her desire to join the land army. However, Beat’s boss Mr. Jones, the grocer, was not going to give up his hard-working shop assistant without a fight and offered mum an extra 10 shillings a week to stay and that started a long career in the grocery trade.

My mother’s kindness and love for her nieces and nephews meant she would spend many hours helping her sister Gertie in her spare time. Gertie would often take in lodgers at home in Coldstream Terrace, Riverside and this is where Beat first met her one and only love, Joseph Ainsworth: charming, smart and stylish – a real English gentleman and in 1950 they were married.

It was only a few years later that Robert was born and then twins, my beautiful sister Jean. Jean’s twin brother, John, sadly survived only a few days after both were born premature. Mum would love to tell us how small Jean was when she was born. Holding out her hand, she’d say, “I could fit her in the palm of my hand”, as she only weighed the same as a 2 pound bag of sugar (she’s a little bit heavier today, but just as sweet). The family was complete in 1961 after I (Gareth) was born. My father had by now left the funeral director’s James Summers, where he had been highly regarded and respected and was working for Beat’s brother Idris as company secretary of Bateman’s the Welsh Grocers.

We all have fantastic memories of growing up in Waun-y-Groes Road, and can recall fondly our loving aunts and uncles, cousins and neighbours.

One memory stands out the most, and that’s of the family night-in, waiting patiently in our living room with the projector set up and ready to go; then my father would give the order for lights-out, and the cine films of that summer’s holiday – with Auntie Grace and her family or New Year’s Eve at Auntie Kitty’s – would spring into life. My Dad must have had great vision as the family films have given us hours of pleasure over the years.

I also have fond memories of music growing up, and It was only when compiling my notes for today that I realised the reason for my unbalanced music tastes: Gilbert & Sullivan for breakfast, the Beatles for lunch, ‘Hey Hey’ we’re the Monkees’ for tea, and probably the Seekers for supper.

In early 1974 our lives changed forever; and for my mother especially, when my father died. I believe the passing of my father was the start of a broken heart that just didn’t heal and would see her grieve for the rest of her life.

I know these must have been very difficult times for mum, often going without to ensure we didn’t. I can recall her cycling 5 days a week from Rhiwbina to Merthyr Road to work in the supermarket – this just typified my mother and her generation.

It’s hard to describe just how tough they made them in the 20’s, but one story springs to mind…

After a late shift working on the wines & spirit counter, mum started her bike ride home, when one of the two bags of shopping hanging from the handlebars hit the front spokes in the front wheel, and my mother was catapulted through the air. Pushing the bike and carrying the shopping for the remainder of the journey, mum arrived home with a swollen ankle. Early the next day she walked to work (probably the same distance as from Dinas Powys to Penarth sea front); and a visit to the CRI later that day, prompted by Roger & Jean, would result in an X-ray showing a broken ankle in three places, needing a steel plate. That story, I believe just proves what a resilient lady Mum really was.

After Beat retired, she would love to spend time with her brothers George and Idris, and with life-long friend Auntie Ciss.

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Some time after moving to Dinas Powys in 1997, my mum had the onset of Alzheimer’s: a horrible disease that gradually stole her most wonderful memories.

Although in the last few years mum’s health gradually worsened, I know her love for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren remained resolute; and you could see how she enjoyed visits from her great grandchildren, Mia, Alfie, Millie and Lois.

Sadly, on the 5th November, our beautiful, caring, wonderful, loving mother slipped away peacefully at the Waverley in Penarth, surrounded by her proud family, who are confident in the knowledge that she will now spend an eternity with my father.

Solo: The Old Rugged Cross – Mr Mark Thompson

Address:

As we gather here this morning to remember the dear and precious life of Beat, I know that many of you are dealing with mixed emotions. Today our hearts are sad, but they are not sad for Beat, because she is in a far better place, but sad because we have lost a dear loved one.

But while we mourn, we must also remember, there is great joy knowing that because of the relationship that she had with God, she is already in His presence. For the Bible says in:

2 Cor 5:6-8

“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Beat was a woman of simple faith. She enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. There was nothing pretentious about her. She liked things down to earth, plain and simple. Beat did things – all kinds of things – above and beyond the call of duty. For her, real life and real living were always about others – how she could help them, care for them, and serve them. Just before her mother died she asked Beat to ‘Look after the boys!’ She did it wonderfully well.

She was born into poverty, spent much of her early life caring for her mum and then went on to live for over 40 years as a widow but never forgot the need to share her things with others, for us as a struggling young family it was the occasional fiver or some dented tins from International. For others it was a simple bar of Cadbury’s of which she seemed to have a never-ending supply.

Beat received many gracious gifts from God. Most important, of course, was the forgiveness that she received from her Saviour and His promise of eternal life. Another gift that she received from God – a gift that she used every day, was the gifts of caring and hospitality. If she knew someone needed help; Beat was there ready to do whatever needed to be done. Jean’s friend Val came to live with Jean when things got difficult at her own home.

Beat was a real Grangetown girl – and she left us a couple of weeks ago to be with her Heavenly Father and we are here because of her influence on our lives. For you Rob, Jean and Gareth your lives were intertwined with hers from the moment you were born. For others of us who are here, our lives crossed Beat’s at different occasions and in different contexts in the course of time. No matter what our connection with Beat, we will never be the same again because of the woman she was. We are all a part of the wonderful legacy she left behind. She was everybody’s friend

The Bible tells us that death is not an unforeseen accident. We read in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes… There is a time to die. It is not something left out of the purposes of our Creator.   It is something planned and necessary in the sight of God. God knew Beat needed rest. It is an appointed event that will come to all of us.

This morning as we mourn her passing, we can also give thanks for Beat’s life. This can be a celebration of a life well lived, a life that impacted all who knew her.

I believe life is a gift from God. God has made us and given us life. God has blessed our life and made it full of experiences, people and events. Each day we live is a blessing and a gift from above.

Beat was a person who was given to us by God. We had the privilege of knowing her and loving her and walking along the path of life with her.

In knowing Beat we have, hopefully become better people. We have stored memories and experiences. These are gifts from God.

But death robs us of much – never again will we have Beat with us, no longer will we hear her voice, see her smile – no more hugs and handshakes

Gone is the chance to tell her things you wanted to say.

Do you wonder how you will deal with it?

The best way is with the promises of the Bible.

Beat had a relationship with God that carried some wonderful promises. Some of the promises are found in John chapter 14:1-6. Let me read that portion of scripture to you.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The First Promise to us is that we don’t have to fear death.

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled”

We are troubled when we don’t know what is going to happen when we die, but Jesus has taken the fear out of dying.

We are troubled when we view death as an end instead of a new beginning.

Beat’s life is not over, as a matter of fact, a new phase has just begun. Our earthly bodies die, however our heavenly bodies endure for all eternity.

The second promise is that Jesus prepares a place for us in Heaven.

He said, ‘I go to prepare a place for you!’

It’s a place with no more sorrow or crying.

Heaven is a place where the hurts and disappointment of this world are no more. Where the frustrations of life are replaced with unspeakable joys.

It’s a place with no more pain and a place of great beauty.

The Third Promise found in our reading is that He personally receives us.

Now I want you to picture this, the moment that Beat took her first breath in Heaven, God was right there to welcome her.

And for Beat, she experienced a love that we can’