Royal Armouries, Leeds

Enjoyed a lovely day out today with the Rotary Club at the Royal Armouries, Leeds. This is an extension to the exhibition which is housed in the Tower of London. Full of swords, guns and all types of weapons it is also an area of learning.

I came away feeling as though I had learnt something about the development of society and the way it defends itself. In many ways it was sad to see our continued dependence on weaponry. However it was also encouraging to see statistics showing that countries liek Belgium have a higher gun rate than ourselves; it was interesting to see how our police force use weaponry and forensics in protecting us; and it was interesting to view the peace room.

I also found the medievel jousting very interesting and an absolute delight to watch the birds of prey. What training goes in is amazing.

I would strongly recommend this as a good day out.

The part that I found particularly moving came at the end of the day when a 15 minute talk was given whereby an actor recounted the memories of survivors of “Operation OverLord”, the D-day landings. A few of us admitted that we were almost close to tears during it. Very powerful stuff.

It was also special to spend a day out with 9 other Rotarians, who have become great pals. We laughed, joked and simply enjoyed each others company. Days like this are special.

November

Dear friends

November is almost upon us, and indeed will be by the time you read this. As I enter the month of November my thoughts are dominated by remembrance. I’ve just got back from a visit to my home church where I was invited to speak at the harvest festival services. Whenever I return to that Church my mind is dominated by three things;

Firstly by memories of my childhood and all that I did in that church such as drama, Sunday-school teaching, youth club work, Boys Brigade and so on. My memories are full and mostly enjoyable. I am extremely grateful for the childhood and early adulthood I had.

Secondly, I think of the gratitude I have for all the people who put up with me, tolerated my exuberance, were patient with my `bolshiness`, encouraged my development, cared for me in illness etc. The people in my home church and circuit truly shaped me and blessed me.

Thirdly, I am amazed at how blessed I have been by two loving Christian parents and a smashing brother. I was fortunate enough to have been raised in a good family unit. I sit at Dads now and I see Mum’s chair and I can still feel her presence. My brother made the journey through at the weekend simply to meet up with me for an hour and that was so special. I have a lot to be grateful for.

In this month of November which is dominated especially by Remembrance Sunday I wonder if we are all grateful enough for all that has blessed us in the past.

You see all my memories are about people; Remembrance Day is about people and I day say that when you stop to think about the past it will be people also who first come to mind.

As we remember let us ensure that we also send a prayer of thanksgiving for the people who have been a part of our journey and whose memory is very precious to us.

 

Digi~Mike

Well, after all these years I have finally been digitalised ! I now have what feels like a Dolby surround system in my ears.

Yes, I have been given two brand, spanking new digital hearing aids and they are wonderful. I’m still adjusting to the new noises and sounds; I’m still having to cope with what feels like an increased volume, but I am really enjoying the comfort of sound.

To all those people (and they know who they are) who have lovingly nagged me towards this I owe a big apology for not doing it until now, and an even bigger thank-you for pushing me in this direction. Watch out, I can now hear what you are saying about me.

In addition, and especially some of our American friends, I want you all to understand that these wonderful devices are free courtesy of our National Health System. The NHS comes in (sometimes justifiably) for stick but in the main it is staffed by caring, dedicated people and it is a system that we as a country ought to be proud of. I don’t know of any other country which willingly spends much of its budget on caring so that the ordinary man or woman can make the most of their lives; where medical needs are met without fear of bankruptcy etc.

Thank you NHS

Pictures

This is a new category for me. Here I hope to periodically add some pictures/photo’s that inspire me, in the prayerfull hope that they may be of similar inspiration to you. All of which have either been taken by myself or I have permission to use.

Weekend off

After what seems like an interminable period of time Alison and I have actually got a weekend off together. Later this morning we’re off with Rotary friends to the District Rotary Conference at Llandudno until Sunday. It should be a good weekend. I won’t forget about what I’ve left on my desk, nor will some of the worries about the issues facing my churches disappear this weekend but it will still be good to spend some time with Alison strolling around Llandudno.

Its about 30 years + since we first went to the town, along with other friends from our Church youth group. We stayed in Kin-mel guest house with a couple from Rochdale who made muffins for a living. It was such a lovely guest house and the company was good that two of us decided to go back the same year. At that time Alison was simply another person in the group and William and I were determined not to have her hanging around and spoiling our weekend. However when we got there, we found that Alison had also booked in and then driven herself all the way over. What a surprise !!!!

Although, at the time, I didn’t want her in Llandudno now I find myself looking forward to being with her and to imagine sneaking off to the town without her is just not on. It shows how we all change over the years, and the girl I once didn’t care for really is now the love of my life.

Heres to the weekend !