Social and fundraising events

At St. Michael's we have many social and fundraising events throughout the year. During 2008 many of these were especially for our Centenary.  The reports on these can be found under Centenary activities. Reports on the other activities can be found below.

The Posh Nosh Dinner.  (or Not the Jubilee Dinner   26th May 2012)


It was a warm, sunny evening as Steve and I joined some other folk in the Church Hall for The Posh Nosh Dinner.

As soon as we arrived we were greeted with a glass of something welcoming from a nice selection of drinks on a white clothed table by the door. Glasses charged we joined others in the hall and had a chance to chat with them while appreciating the lovely aromas issuing from the kitchen.

It was really nice to have some time to talk to everyone as often it seems they become Sunday morning faces as we rush pass each other with just a quick Hi or  wave and smile across the Church.

While we all chatted together the waitresses for the evening were busy selling raffle tickets to help raise much needed funds.  Gabriele showed a great aptitude as a salesperson; as she persuaded the most tightly closed purse (mine) open for a second time!

At 7.30 Father David announced that dinner was ready and we took our seats at our chosen tables. Father David said Grace and the meal was ready to start.

The tables had been dressed with red, white and blue cloths and napkins. In the centre of each table was a small posy of flowers.  It all looked very nice and festive.

The starters were distributed by the waitresses, melon slices fanned across the plate and dressed with a dark crimson raspberry coulis. The starter tasted as nice as it looked.

The wine waiter offering a choice of red or white wine (there was fruit juice for those that preferred that to the wine.)

As the meal began the room became very quiet and for a while the predominant sound was the clink of spoon on plate.

The pates were cleared and replaced by the main course of chicken chasseur, potatoes and a selection of nicely cooked fresh vegetables. This was also very tasty.

The meal was accompanied by some pleasant background music and as the evening progressed and the wine flowed, an increasing buzz of conversation and laughter.

By the time the sweet trolley arrived (and what a very impressive sweet trolley it was, I think there were at least six very tempting sweets to choose between), the men in the group at our table had found common interest in sport and sharing a very pleasant evening with lots of stories and at times raucous laughter.  I rather expect they were sharing headaches on Sunday morning!

When the very yummy desert trolley was finally taken away it was replaced by an equally tempting display of cheese and biscuits.  We all agreed that as tempting as the selection was we were unable to eat another thing.

Before the meal ended with coffee and chocolate mints all the people that has worked so hard to make the evening such a success were called into the hall so we could all show our appreciation of them.

Penny and Nigel had worked incredibly hard; they had been helped by Father David and Sister Carol (Carol Stead) who was visiting for the weekend. The bevies of young waitress Ellie, Elea, Gabija, Gabriele and Jessie had all worked very hard to help make the evening the success it was and all deserve a big thank you.

Father David ended the proceeding by saying that “auditions” for more cooks would be held over the coming weeks.  All volunteers should be prepared to cook dinner at the vicarage to see if they met the required standards.  I think he was joking, but ....

Sue Naylor

Quiz night - 2nd April 2011

On 2nd April six teams gathered for the St Michael’s quiz night. On the tables were two sheets of photos, one with people from films and the other from TV shows which we settled down to complete before the quiz started. Looking through the list on the table there were 10 rounds ranging from history, literature, animals, to food and drink, and connections (which was not as Michael had hoped, all about train lines). Each team had a joker which they chose to use on what, they hoped, to be their best subject.

We chatted and had a good evening whilst listening to Peter reading out the questions for each round and watched as each rounds points were added up on the running total board. Our team, the smallest, of only 3 adults and one child, came in their traditional place of last, this despite, as Fr David pointed out, us having the highest percentage of graduates on our team.

The evening was a good evening with tickets costing only £3 and the bar open. If you haven’t been to one before, why not give the next one a try? Don’t worry if you think you don’t know anything, it’s about the taking part and not the winning, and anyway someone will need to take my place of being on the loosing team.

Carol Stead

Pre-Lent dinner - 5th March 2011


Our hardworking little Fundraising Committee came up trumps again with an excellent ‘Pre-Lent Dinner’ held on Saturday 5th March.

Some twenty-four of us sat down for the meal and, as we entered the church hall, we found beautifully set and arranged tables, and were greeted by a choice of aperitifs (a fino sherry went down very well with me!) and nibbles – I just can’t resist the grissini (Italian bread sticks).  After Fr. David had said Grace, the meal itself began with a selection of imaginative and varied ‘mini salads’ – which were really not so ‘mini’, accompanied by warm bread rolls. The main course was Coq Au Vin Blanc (chicken cooked in white wine) served with duchesse potatoes, green beans and carrots. Very yummy, and portions were very generous….and seconds were available. One other person on my table joined me in seconds, so that helped me feel less guilty.

For dessert there was a choice of Malt Chocolate Cheesecake or Apple Pancake Gateau – both homemade by two of our talented and multi-tasking Fundraising Committee. Then, of course, a plateau of cheeses, and biscuits.  And what’s more there was a generous bowl of fresh fruit on every table. 

Our liquid intake requirements were well catered for by a selection of red and white wines, soft drinks, and mineral water. Two glasses of wine per head were included in the price, and additional glasses could be had in exchange for a modest donation. Water and soft drinks were ‘ad lib’.  

Finally, coffee and tea were served  - with chocolates…

And what did we guests have to pay for all this? Just £12.50 per head for a restaurant quality meal at a fraction of the price – and all in a good cause.

Of course, it’s not only the shopping, the cooking and the serving, but all the getting everything ready, the daunting pile of washing-up, clearing up the hall, putting away tables, etc., etc. Once again I take off my hat (or I would if I wore a biretta) to Penny and Nigel Parsons plus Simon - who was 'mash king' in the behind the scenes preparations, Carol Stead, Chris Harper, Peter Baker and Fr. David. And to the two young ‘nippies’ and arm-twisting raffle ticket sellers, Gabrielle and Gabija. I am confident that I speak on behalf of everybody when I say, ‘Well done every one of you, and Thank You for yet another very enjoyable evening !

Fr. Derek

Beetle Drive - 5th February 2011

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b2_small.jpg   Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b5_small.jpg   Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b7_small.jpg   Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b10_small.jpg   Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b11_small.jpg   Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\b14_small.jpg

Once again a 'select number' of us enjoyed the thrills of a Beetle Drive. It's a pity that more members of the congregation don't support this event. This time, Sue and I brought along a couple of friends, Helene and David, with no church connection, and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I have written extensively on the subject in a previous issue of the magazine, and so will not repeat myself - a sure sign of advancing age...Suffice to say that it really was a fun evening again, and the selection of sausages from Pickettes of Pickford Lane, along with perfect mashed potato and onions - 'SPO' as my old Nan used to call it, i.e. Sausages, Potatoes and Onions', accompanied by a range of condiments, was good old fashioned grub - true comfort food! And all for just £3! Plus the added comfort of our licensed bar... I will repeat myself to pay tribute again to the small team (three!) of shoppers, cooks and servers who worked so hard to make the evening so relaxed and enjoyable - and of course, Fr David, who manned the bar! If you have never experienced a beetle Drive, who not join us next time - satisfaction guaranteed!

Fr Derek

Harvest Supper - 16th Oct 2010


Now that we are officially in Winter, and dreaming perhaps of roast turkey and all the trimmings, the above opening words of a well-known Harvest Festival hymn conjure up memories of those glowing, golden, late Summer and Autumn days…….and of another tradition here at St. Michael’s church – our annual Harvest Supper, which took place back on Saturday 16th October.

About thirty of us sat down to another excellent meal, courtesy of the usual group of shoppers, cooks, waiters/waitresses, table-arrangers, quiz-questioners, clearer-uppers and wash-uppers (the same few people multi-tasking!) who make up our Fundraising and Social Events team. 

We were greeted by a particularly difficult ‘wall quiz’ to tease our brains, and there were ‘nibbles’ on hand  - grissini (Italian bread sticks) this time, until the starter arrived: Fan of Melon with Summer Fruits (a delicious and refreshing appetiser!).  Then, in contrast to last year’s French theme with its authentic-tasting Boeuf Bourguignonne, we had posh bangers and mash -  or, as the printed menu put it,  ‘Sausages braised in red wine with a medley of seasonal vegetables and mashed potato’ Yum! Yum!  The tasty pork sausages were from our usual sausage merchant, the butcher ‘Pickettes of Pickford Lane’, in Bexleyheath.  Sue is allergic to pork, but it was no problem, as she was catered for with some lovely chicken sausages instead.  The fresh vegetables were cooked just right, and the real mashed potatoes perfectly smooth and lump-free.  And it always amazes me that the team manage to serve everything piping hot, despite the very limited facilities in our cramped hall kitchen.  As usual, portions were generous, and ‘seconds’ were brought round for anybody who wanted more – needless to say I was one of them (I’m not the shape I am without trying!).  A limitless free supply of soft drinks and bottled water was available, and a glass of wine was included in the price – with plenty more on offer for a very modest offering.  We had Fresh Fruit Salad with Cream for dessert, followed by Cheese and Biscuits, and Coffee and Chocolates to round off the meal.   

All this for just £7!  If you missed it, why not put next year’s Harvest Supper date in your diary now? It’s Saturday 15th October 2011.

Fr. Derek

Summer fair - 12th June 2010

On Saturday 12th June St Michael’s held its summer fair. The morning was bright and sunny as everyone busied themselves setting up their stalls.  At 12 noon we broke off setting up for a welcome lunch of jacket potato with fillings prepared by Penny and Martin.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\IMG_0425_small.jpgAt 1pm we were ready for the influx of visitors and the doors were opened. Outside the front door the plant stall was doing a roaring trade as were our friends from St Benet’s church selling hot dogs and burgers. Inside the hall were stalls from the WI selling things they had made, a lady selling Jewellery, Peter selling his paints, along with tombolas, bric a brac, strawberries and cream, cakes and various games. In the back garden were various games such as ‘stop the vicar getting to church’, ‘hook the duck’ and hoopla and a book stall. We also had the St John’s Ambulance giving out leaflets. While in the lounge refreshments were served.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\IMG_0440_small.jpgAt 1.30 pm the Majorettes put on a display for us in the back garden.  This was followed by the Jubilate junior choir singing football songs in the hall to get us in the mood for England’s first game of the world cup later that evening.

The afternoon finished with the raffle being drawn.

We wish to thank everyone who supported this draw whether by donating prizes, or by buying tickets. In particular we had a good response from our Magazine readers for which we are very grateful.

The fundraising committee would like to extend a huge Thank You to everyone who supported our fair.  Whether you gave a prize, made something to sell, help set-up or tidy up afterwards, helped on a stall, or turned up on the day to sample the various activities and buy something or helped in any other way.  We had a very successful day and couldn't have done it without you.

It was especially nice to see some new faces running stalls, as well as those of our regular contributors.

Our next fair will be the Christmas fair on Saturday 27th November, please put the date in your diary and start planning what you are going to do for it.

The Churches Parish Dinner – April 17th

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\IMG_0285_small.JPGDescription: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\IMG_0283_small.JPGWhat a shame that some people missed out on the above function; this was certainly not as well attended as others in the past.  Those of us who did go were treated to a lovely four course meal that had been ably prepared and cooked by Penny and Carol.  We were waited at table by Nigel, Martin and Paul who also ensured that our glasses were kept full.  Father David, who returned from holiday that evening, arrived later to lend a helping hand.  As there were so few of us (about 20, if my memory serves me right) someone had the good idea of erecting a barrier of tables across the width of the hall so that the few superbly laid tables did not look lost in the vast area.

I hope that a few more of you will be able to make the next dinner date as it makes a very pleasant evening.

Christine Fern

PASSING THE DRIVING TEST…… - 6th February 2010

Sue and I used to drive an ancient red Volkswagen Beetle, registration TLP618M.  Alas, it has long since departed this life, but we were very fond of it.  It had a character, a personality, that you just don’t get with modern cars.  We have a watercolour painting of it on one of our walls.  So it was with feelings of excitement and nostalgia, that we bought tickets for the ‘BEETLE DRIVE’ in the church hall a few weeks ago – especially since there was an added incentive of a ‘SAUSAGE SUPPER’ included in the price of £3!

We didn’t, however, actually ‘drive’ anywhere!  For the uninitiated, perhaps I had better explain what a ‘Beetle Drive’ is…..

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\beetledrive_small.JPGEverybody who turns up is formed into teams of four, seated around several tables in the hall.  In front of each person is a sheet of paper marked out into six boxes on each side.  And there are dice (singular ‘die’ I suppose – hence ‘the die is cast’!) on every table.  The object of the game, determined by the throw of the dice, is to draw a complete beetle (the creepy crawly kind – not the VW kind) in each of your boxes.  A complete beetle comprises a body, a head, a tail, six legs, two feelers (antennae) and two eyes.  At the word GO! the players on each table take it in turns to throw the dice.  You need to throw a six to start, because that allows you to draw the beetle’s body.  For the other body parts you need a five for the head, a four for the tail, a three for each leg, a two for each of the two feelers, and a one for each of the two eyes.  The game can get fast and furious as the dice flies round from hand to hand, and the first person to make a complete beetle, shouts – appropriately – BEETLE!  At that point everyone stops playing, and counts up the number of ‘body parts’ they have managed to draw.  The person with the highest score on each table and the one with the lowest score on each table, move off – in opposite directions – to an adjacent table.  And so it goes on – so it’s a good ‘mixing and socialising’ activity.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\beetledrive2_small.JPGAfter the first six games, there was an interlude, during which supper was served.  Tantalising samples of each of the different kinds of sausage on offer had been available for tasting when the evening began, and now came the full meal – a delicious variety of sausages – all supplied by the butcher ‘Pickettes of Pickford Lane’ in Bexleyheath, accompanied by beautifully lumpless real mashed potato, and onions….and a range of condiments.  You could go back again and again for ‘seconds’, ‘thirds’ etc… What’s more, our licensed bar was open – manned by Father David, fresh off the plane from his Winter sunshine mini-break in Lanzarote – so there was plenty of opportunity to wash down the bangers and mash.

Also during this interval, there was a raffle, and an ‘Insect Quiz’!  Then play resumed for the other six games.

Oh, and during the evening, ‘Beatles’ music (get the pun?) was played to get everyone in the right frame of mind.  You would not believe that so much fun could be had from such simple pleasures – and it certainly beat Saturday night telly!

The evening was organised by our Fundraising Team, who had brought us that super Harvest Supper.  Despite the incredibly low price of £3 for the Beetle Drive and as much as you could eat, they made a profit of over £90 for the Demelza Children’s Hospice…..

The same team are going to do the Parish Dinner on 17th April, so don’t miss out.

Fr. Derek


While still fresh in my mind – and my taste buds, I just want to record my appreciation to the team who put on such an excellent Harvest Supper last month.

There were plentiful ‘nibbles’ on offer as people arrived, before we sat down for the meal, which had a French flavour this year.  The starter was aDescription: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\harvest1_small.JPG ‘duo’ (i.e. two different kinds) of pâtés, accompanied by melba toast and a salad garnish.  This whetted the appetite nicely for the main course, a delicious, tender, and authentic-tasting Boeuf Bourguignonne, with green beans and perfectly smooth mashed potatoes . It was all piping hot – I don’t know how they managed that with our kitchen’s very limited facilities!  Portions were generous, and ‘seconds’ were brought round for anybody who wanted more – needless to say I was one of them!  A limitless free supply of soft drinks and bottled water was available, and a glass of wine was included in the price – with plenty more on offer for a very modest offering…..so modest that I even bought a glass for somebody else!  There was a choice of desserts – lemon meringue pie or spicy plum crunch and custard (or crème anglaise, to continue the French theme).

Then came along an abundant cheeseboard and biscuits for every table - every table had its own big bowl of fresh fruit too.  Finally, tea or coffee and mints to end with.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\harvest2_small.JPGAnd the cost of this four-course meal?  Just £6.  Yes, £6!  Of course at that price there is no profit (other than from the sale of ‘left-overs’, such as surplus cheese!) because the Harvest Supper is viewed simply as a fun social occasion –  we did play some not too challenging quizzes/table games during the course of the evening.  The same team that gave us this experience put on excellent meals at other times which, as well as being social occasions, are also designed to be part of our very important fundraising efforts.  But even then the price is pitched at only about £12 – where else can you get a four-course dinner of such quality for that sort of money?

Having done my own share of catering for quite large numbers of people over the years, and knowing how much work goes into these events, I am full of admiration for the small group who work so hard to give us such pleasure and, sometimes, to raise a bit of money for our church!

Fr. Derek

Half Marathon - 27th September 2009

It was the 27th Sept and the day of our first half marathon had finally come, had we done enough training? Would we make it round? We got up bright and early so that we could have a good breakfast before setting off for the O2.

When we arrive there were thousands of people there (15,000 people took part), we took our bags to the left luggage tent and joined the very long queue for the Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\running1_small.Jpgtoilets. As we got to the front of the queue we could see the runners in pen 1 being taken down to the start line and the run starting. We were in pen 6, the last ones to start, so we still had plenty of time. As we set off running from the O2 towards the Woolwich ferry we could see lots of people lining the streets, cheering us on. There were also 12 music stations around the course to help keep us going. After a couple of miles we realised we had set off faster than we had planned but we were both happy with that pace so kept it up. Just after we reached the Woolwich ferry, at mile 3, we were pleased to see Sue and the children out cheering us on. We carried on, doing a loop and back to the Woolwich ferry where we again saw Sue, this time she was ready for us with the camera. At the bottom of John Wilson Street the congregation from the New Wine church were outside their church singing and cheering us on.

We then had a climb up John Wilson Street, along to Blackheath and eventually to Greenwich Park.  It was great to see so many children out along here, all wanting to give us high fives as we ran past.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\running2_small.JPGBy mile 10 Paul’s legs were really hurting so he stopped and walked for a bit while I carried on running.  We ran down through Greenwich park and then back towards the O2 where the finish line was, that last mile started to really hurt but I was determined I was going to keep on running, and even managed to speed up a bit when we came to the last 400 m. Paul and I met up again at the baggage reclaim area.  I had run the whole way in 2 hours and 37 minutes; Paul managed it in 2 hours 44minutes.  We are both really pleased with our times and want to thank everyone who sponsored us.

By Carol Stead


We started the morning with a very unhealthy breakfast from McDonalds, sitting on the wall outside the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich waiting for the first runners in the half marathon to come into view. I could hear music in the distance with a heavy base beat and occasionally someone talking over it, I assumed it was issuing from loud speakers somewhere along the course.

We didn’t have to wait for to long, the first runners appeared following a marshal seated precariously on the back of a motorbike, the two youngDescription: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\running3_small.Jpg athletics were moving at an impressive pace.  They ran past us into the distance.  Soon after more small groups appeared and followed the leaders off along the road.  The first woman athlete passed us.  We gave her a cheer as she passed.  The groups of runners were getting larger and more frequent now until they merged into one mass of runners, and they just kept coming and coming.  Runners of all ages, shapes and sizes wearing all manner of outfits and costumes.  Jessie spotted a banana pounding down the road, he must have been a pretty good runner as he was fairly close to the front of the race.  Soon after we spotted another banana and then another until a veritable bunch of bananas had run past.  We found out later they were collecting money for a leukaemia charity.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\running4_small.JpgWe saw the teletubbies, Bodicea, Britannia, a group of Mexicans with sombreros and long moustaches, what appeared to be a rugby team in green and black, and several men dressed up as women, two guys each dressed as a female breast were running together along the road, they could have been a right pair of …..’s but they were raising money for a breast cancer charity. Any number of Angels, Devils and a skeleton ran past.  Elvis was pounding the roads of south east London as was The Stig (fans of Top Gear will know how hot the poor man must have been!) I hope he finished.  There was even a man pushing a baby in a buggy!

We were there to watch Carol and Paul and cheer them on their way but it is so difficult to really see the faces of people as they run towards you.  We were watching for the red, white and blue shirts that I thought they run in, then two folk in black t-shirts with St Michaels church Abbey wood printed on the back whizzed past just in time for me not to get a photo of them!  We managed to cross the road to watch them on the return journey as they run towards John Wilson Street.

We wandered along toward John Wilson Street ourselves, watching the runner ( and many walkers) who were bringing up the rear of the race and we found out were the music and voice urging the runners on and laughing and joking with them as they went past was coming from.  The Church of the New Wine was having it’s morning Service outside the Church and what a service it was laughing, singing and all round fun and jollity.

I am sure lots of money was raised for lots of worthy causes this morning including the money raised by Carol and Paul for our own heating fund.  It was a great morning and I felt tired just watching.

Carol told me later she had completed the race in 2 hours and thirty seven minutes and Paul in two hours and forty four minutes.  So well done!!

By Sue

St. Benet's Fair - 20th June 2009

I love tradition! One of my favourite traditions at St. Michael’s is the summer fair.  This year I was spoilt for choice with our own summer fair last Saturday and this weekend a second fair being held in our hall. St. Benet’s Roman Catholic Church, our close neighbour is having work done on their buildings, and needed to hold their summer fair elsewhere this year.  We were pleased to welcome them.

All summer fairs have a flavour all of their own, St. Michael’s is very familiar to me now and I enjoy the tombolas and competitions and the delightful things that are on sale. I am always impressed by all the amazing things folk can make and do, the lovely bird tables and bird feeders, the plants and containers, the handmade cards, hand knitted baby clothes, paintings and wonderful tasty looking cakes.

As I walked along Abbey Wood Road St. Benet’s fair felt slightly alien to me even before I arrived. I could see a lot of people gathered by the entrance and hear music issuing from the hall, there was a lovely aroma of food wafting from a gazebo in the corner of the Church garden.  As I arrived the first person I saw was Father David, seated comfortably next to the gazebo eating a hearty lunch!  There were some other stalls in the Church garden apart from the gazebo, one selling plants and garden ornaments and another running a “hook the duck” game and win a sweet every time, this stall was surrounded by happy, excited children for most of the afternoon and appeared to be doing a brisk trade!

Inside, the hall was already busy and rapidly filling with people, there were raffles, competitions, candy floss, nic-nacs, games, books, paintings and jewellery for sale as well as wonderful, delicious looking little (and not so little) cakes.  There was also someone doing face painting for the children, the results that I saw during the afternoon were very impressive.  Someone else was carrying out massage at the side of the hall, a lady was in the process of having a massage as I walked by she did look very relaxed! And the smell of the aromatherapy oils was very appealing. In the kitchen more ladies were very busy producing numerous cups of tea and coffee that disappeared on trays to replenish the hard working stallholders. I walked around and found St. Michael’s stalls, one selling an interesting mixture of hand knitted baby clothes and paintings, the other some lovely plants and ready planted containers.

As the afternoon progressed the music grew louder and some of the children started to dance, the mood was infectious and soon several of the adults had joined them swaying and bopping along in time with the music.  The fair was due to continue into the evening and there was a happy party atmosphere by the time we had to head homeward late in the afternoon.. There were lots of unfamiliar faces but also several familiar ones as well, maybe some new friendships were forged during our shared afternoon. I enjoyed St Benet’s fair and hope they enjoyed their visit to St. Michael’s.

Written by Sue

Summer Fair - 13th June 2009

After weeks of preparation the day of the summer fair was finally here.  People had sore feet from delivering hundreds of leaflets during the week, posters had been displayed in local shops and windows, people had spent hours making cakes, bird feeders, cards, painting pictures, knitting jumpers and doing all manner of things to make the day a success.  The hall had been set up by a merry band the night before, staying until the early hours to get it all done.

We woke to a bright, hot morning; it looked like we would be in for a good day.  The morning was spent put up gazebos, bunting and balloons, and setting up stalls before we all stopped for a delicious lunch which had been provided.

At 1 pm the doors opened and there was a rush of people coming in, all heading for their favourite stall be it cakes, bric-a-brac, the tombola, plants, guess the teddies favourite drink, or one of the other countless stalls.  Outside were several games such as stop the vicar getting to church, hook a duck, and hoopla.  Refreshments were served in the lounge.  This year we were lucky to have St. Benet’s church selling hot food and the majorettes entertained us with their routine.  By 3 pm the cakes and the tombolas had sold out and it was time for the raffle to be pulled before clearing up.  After all the hard work, the summer fair was over for another year. The fundraising committee would like to thank all those people who worked hard to make it a success, perhaps now is the time to start thinking about what you can do for the Christmas fair.

A family trip to Norwich with the East Wickham Singers - 6th June 2009

On Saturday June 6th Jessie, Lawrence and I along with other members of St. Michael’s had been invited to join the East Wickham Singers on their trip to Norwich where they were due to sing Evensong in the Cathedral.  We met at St. Michael’s, it was an early start with the coach leaving promptly at 7.30 am.  The day started with a persistent rain and grey sullen overcast skies, but the forecast promised sun later in the day so sun-hats and rain coats seemed to be the order of the day.  We boarded the coach and settled down for the journey, it was uneventful and we arrived safely outside Norwich Cathedral at 10.30.  The singers deposited their robes and everyone wandered away to spend some free time exploring the delights of Norwich.

Our group joined Michael and Janet on the walk they were leading along the River Wensum.  Michael and Janet both seem to know a great deal about Norwich and its long history and they were very interesting to listen to as we strolled along beside the River.  The river seems to be woven through the history of Norwich, it helped the Saxons and Vikings run a prosperous trade and market in the city, it helped to defend the city in the middle ages and it brought the pink stone from Caen in France that was used to build the Cathedral.  The Victorian wharfs and warehouses are commemorated alongside the river by the huge, named wooden blocks where Victorian barges were once tied up to as they loaded and unloaded their wares. Today flats and offices of modern Norwich line the river side.  After a brief walk into the old town and a visit to a interesting little music shop and the King of Hearts Tea Shop where they sell wonderful homemade cakes we walked back along the river.  Later we ate a picnic lunch beside the river before we returned to the Cathedral.  As I am sure all parents know, other folk’s food is always nicer than your own and the children in the party exchanged sandwiches, fruit and sweets (and lovely little trifles from Michael and Janet) and had a lovely time.

After lunch we all returned to the Cathedral and the singers went off to robe-up and start the rehearsal for Evensong.  Jessie, Lawrence and I wandered around the Cathedral and took in the sights, there had been a Confirmation Service earlier in the day and the font and church were full of beautiful floral arrangements.  Jessie wanted to look in the shop which is full of pretty and interesting bits and pieces.  I didn’t want to take Lawrence into the shop with all the delicates and breakables, just in case, so with promises about not leaving until we returned Jessie set of to explore the delights within and Lawrence and I headed off on our slow progress around the Cathedral.  I have been to the Cathedral before and taken some of the very interesting tours they offer but today Lawrence and I went around at our own pace stopping and looking or walking on as we choose.

I especially like the font in Norwich Cathedral, once a chocolate vat from the large Nestle factory that once had its home in Norwich, it was refashioned into the wonderful copper coloured font when the factory closed down.  It is now a lasting reminder of the connection between the city and the factory.  Today it looked especially beautiful adorned with white and copper coloured flowers.

We also saw the wonderful votive candle stand , made from black metal it is in the shape of a globe around a central cross.  It is simple but very effective in its symbolism.  When we were there it was almost full of lighted candles offering peoples prayers.  Lawrence loves to watch candles flickering, with help Lawrence lit a candle and I said a short prayer with him.  We stood for a long time watching the candles and listening to the choir practicing for Evensong . The main doors of the Cathedral had been thrown open and the place was filled with the afternoon sun.  As we walked on the sun was streaming through the stained glass of the windows making the colours in them glow.  Each hour the Lords Prayer is read over the speaker system, it is very tranquil.

We walked around enjoying the building for a while and then went back to collect Jessie who was still enjoying the treasures she had discovered in the shop.  We walked outside to the cloisters and enjoyed the cool air.  We wandered slowly on to the lawn and looked at the labyrinth.  I explained to Jessie the difference between a maze and a labyrinth and she insisted in walking it, much quicker I suspect than any contemplative monk ever did! of the afternoon and envying those who lived in the lovely houses around the Cathedral.  We wandered outside and through the gardens, admired the flowers and sat for a while taking in the quiet.  We returned to the Cathedral and looked at the photo display produced by a local camera club and then sat by the south door to listen to the choir practising.  Here there are some wonderful stained glass windows, quiet modern I think, and very colourful and bright.  Lawrence spent a lot of time looking at them babbling quietly to himself.

The afternoon concluded with Evensong, Jessie wanted to join the congregation in the pews which she did, Lawrence and I continued to sit by the door where we could hear the service and the singing very well and where Lawrence was not distressed by having to many people close by and the need to stand and sit with the progress of the service.  The choir sang and Lawrence made the sign for listening and told me “pretty”, indeed it was. We all had a lovely day, and thank you to everyone who made Lawrence so welcome.

Written by Sue

10k Run - 25th May 2009

On bank holiday Monday, 25th May, Carol and Paul set off up to London for the BUPA London 10,000.  This was to be the second time we had run 10 k (6.1 miles) and this time it would be a big London event with 12,000 people running, including elite runners, and would be shown live on the Telly, we were feeling a bit nervous.  The meeting place for the run was Green Park.  As we got off the train at Charing Cross, we could see lots of people in running gear all making their way to Green Park.  When we got there we found the tent where we could leave our bags while we ran. When we applied to do the run we were asked to estimate how long it would take us, we had then all been given a colour and letter corresponding to this.  Paul had been given Green A and me Green B, Green being the slowest colour.  This meant I was setting off in the second to last group.  The park was crowded and they were already starting to call the runners in the first colour (Red) to the start line in Birdcage walk.

Eventually Green runners were called and we made our way with all the others to the start line, at this point we separated with Paul in a group in front of me.  The atmosphere was friendly with others around us chatting.  Over the loudspeakers music was playing, then we heard them start the run, the elite started first followed at 2 minute intervals by the Red A, Red B, … as each group started the rest of us behind them moved forward towards the start line.  Soon we were at the start line and the bell went for us to start.  Even though there we so many of us I was surprised to find that I could start off well and it wasn’t too crowded, the splitting into groups worked well with the people around me doing the same pace as me.

Soon after the start the wind blew some dust up into our faces making many of us cough and getting in our eyes, unfortunately the first water station was at 3 k so we had to make it to there before we could have a drink and clear our throats.  We ran alone Victoria embankment, then on to Cannon street, up to Fenchurch street before turning and running back towards  The Mall for the finish line at one stage running down the cobbled stones of Leadenhall Market, used as the set of ‘Diagon Alley’ in the Harry Potter films.  The race was marked out with 1k markers all alone the route, there were 3 water stations and several First Aid posts, at one point the St. Johns ambulance people were holding out Vaseline for anyone who wanted it but I couldn’t work out which bit could be rubbing which you could put Vaseline on while still running.

My aim was to run the whole way round the route and I was hoping to complete it in about 1 hour 10 minutes. This meant doing each kilometre in 7 minutes.  I kept an eye on my watch all the way round and was please that I was able to keep to my time plan.  Whenever I felt like stopping I told myself I must keep going and not to start walking.  The bands playing and people cheering around the course helped us on our way.  Along the route I saw Fred Flintstone, a Nun, a couple of donkeys laden with bags and others dressed up, it was hot enough running in shorts and t-shirt, I certainly wouldn’t want to do it dressed up.  As we turned into The Mall I thought I could see 2 trees moving in front of me, I knew I was tired but didn’t think I was that tired that I was seeing things.  I soon caught up with them and found they were 2 people dressed up as trees, at this point you could hear the commentary of the race as we came to the finish line and I heard them announce that one of the trees was an ex-marathon runner.

I crossed the finish line in 1 hour 10 minutes and 12 seconds having run the whole way. We were then given our goody bags, had our time chips removed from our shoes (we were obviously to tired to do this ourselves so they had a line of people to do this for you) and went back to collect our belongings.  There I met up with Paul again to find he had completed it in 1 hour 11 minutes and 12 seconds!  Hot and tired but pleased with ourselves we made our way back home.  Thank you to everyone who sponsored us, we raised over £260 for the church.  Our next challenge is a half marathon in September.

Easter Breakfast - 12th April 2009

At the end of the Easter Vigil service everyone, who had tickets adjourned to the Lounge where Father Derek and Sue had been busy preparing the Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\Easter breakfast3_small.JPGEaster Breakfast, this is a lovely tradition in St. Michael’s; breakfast is served starting with grapefruit and bucks fizz this is followed by a full English breakfast including sausage, bacon, steak, egg, tomato and mushrooms. Sue coped with vegetarian and other special requests in her own calm and organised manner. Father Derek bar-b-cued the meat in the garden and Sue cooked the eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms in the kitchen. It all worked Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\Easter Breakfast_small.JPGvery well and the breakfast is always really nice! Father Derek was very patient with the over excited children (of all ages!) who were rushing around the garden.  This year thirty five people sat down to breakfast there was a jolly party atmosphere about the whole event. Easter brings so much extra work to the Church I think it is really special that Sue and Derek still find time to carry on this lovely tradition.

Quiz night - 17th January 2009

It was the first time we had been to a quiz night at St. Michael’s and I was looking forward to it.  We arrived at the hall, selected a table, the other members of our team arrived and having provided ourselves with refreshments from the bar we all sat and chatted until the quiz was due to start.

Each table had been provided with a list telling the quiz participants what each round of questions would be, and a joker card to be played on what you thought would be your best round, we chose history, a wise choice as it turned out! We were also given a sheet of ten sketched diagrams from which you were invited to make a well-known phrase or saying.  It was not so easy as it sounds.  This was the “dingbats” round and the sheets along with our answers were to be collected during the interval.

The quiz started, there was to be a wide range of subjects covered including food and drink, literature, history, science, music and general knowledge.  After the first five rounds there was a short interval to allow folk to eat the food they had brought with them (some teams had rather excellent looking suppers and buffets) and replenish their drinks.  During the interval each team was given a sheet with numerous photos of people who had been in the news recently, the aim was to identify as many as possible.  One of the younger members of our team was very enterprising trading the name of the “new Dr. Who” for photos we were unable to identify! There was also a raffle which was drawn just before the end of the evening.

Teams consisted of up to eight people; our team was the smallest consisting of three adults and three young people ranging from nine to seventeen.  I was pleasantly surprised how much we knew between us, and what obscure nuggets of information lurked in the collective recesses of our brains, although to be honest several of the questions were met with blank stares and wild guesses!  As the marks for each team began to fill the grid that had been drawn on the board at the front of the hall it was very obvious that our team was not going to win, in fact the gap between our team and the others increased with each round and we romped home behind everyone else.  It didn’t matter at all we had all enjoyed ourselves and laughed a lot.  Several teams were putting up a determined effort and the lead changed several times, the final result was very close.  The members of the winning team each received a box of chocolates and a big round of applause from the other teams.

Written by Sue

The Edwardian Christmas Fair - 29th November 2008

The morning started with a history lesson.  Why is the Church having an Edwardian Christmas Fair?  Who were the Edwardians?  Why are you dressing up like that mum?  Who were the suffragettes and why couldn’t women vote?  Can I colour in your banner?  Why can’t I wear my jeans and why do I need bows on my plaits?  If there’s a Christmas Fair will it snow?

The questions answered and the Votes for Women banner coloured in, Jessie and I headed off to St. Michael’s, our rather noticeable appearance causing a few stares and concealed smiles from people we passed on the way.  We entered the hallDescription: Description: Description: Picture 093.jpg (385591 bytes) where many other people were also in Edwardian dress, it all looked rather impressive.  The hall looked splendid with all sorts of stalls selling all sorts of interesting things or organising raffles, tombolas or other games.

Jessie ran off with her friends, many of whom were also dressed up in period costume and looked lovely.  I took a slow walk around the hall.  There was a stall selling wonderful little cupcakes that all looked delicious, there were wonderful handmade cards and knitted goods and original paintings as well as a stall full of lovely Christmas decorations and another with bric-a-brac.  The Explorer Scouts were very much in evidence selling hot mulled wine and mince pies and helping out where they were needed.  One was dressed in a wonderful old fashioned scout uniform.

I wandered into the lounge to find more delightful cakes and a bubbling urn and two very cheerful ladies offering cups of tea or coffee.  Hidden around the corner was a “secret shop” run by Carol resplendent as an Edwardian kitchen maid, the children could go and buy a Christmas present for mum or dad and wrap it up with Carol’s help.  It seemed to do a very healthy trade.

Description: Description: Description: Christmas fair5.Jpg (1593917 bytes)During the afternoon the children of the Jubilate choir, along with Father Derek, Michael, and Janet and accompanied by Carol on the keyboard, sang a selection of old songs including Maybe its because I’m a Londoner and What shall we do with the drunken sailor, and many other well-known songs.  Many folk in the hall joined in with the singing and one or two folk were spotted having a bit of a dance as well!

Shortly after the choir sang, Father David rang a bell to announce the arrival of Father Christmas whom he led through the hall to his grotto which had been prepared on the stage.  A queue of children soon formed and they each in turn went into the grotto and told Santa what they would like to find in their stocking on Christmas morning.  I am sure Santa and his band of grown up helpers will do their best to make sure that all those children have a lovely Christmas.  But for today each child received a present containing a chocolate filled advent calendar.  Outside the grotto Nigel was busy taking photographs of the children with Father Christmas, with the aid of his computer, lovely mementos for families to keep.

The afternoon drew towards its close, the raffle for the luxury hamper and the Christmas Cake were drawn, congratulations to Gwen who won the hamper, and all the other prize winners.  Slowly as people drifted home this years Christmas Fair came to an end.  As always it was a lot of hard work for a lot of people but it was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Sadly there was no snow!

Written by Sue

Harvest Supper - 11th October 2008

Saturday 11th of October was a typical autumn day on which St. Michaels was holding its Harvest Supper in the Church Hall.  Peter had gone along early to help (or hinder) those who were doing all the hard work, so it was just me and Jessie who headed off along the road at the appointed hour.  We arrived in the hall; the tables were laid and looked very attractive with their white clothes, green and red napkins and colourful fruit centrepieces.

A seasonal quiz had been arranged with numbered and lettered pictures of trees, bushes and fruits arranged around the walls of the hall, each person was handed a list of different types of fruit, the aim of the quiz was to identify and match as many trees and fruits as possible with the correct name. Not as easy as it might at first sound….Do you know what a peanut butter tree looks like?  And would anyone over the age of fifty know why there was a picture of a mobile phone included in the pictures gracing the walls?  Peter explained patiently to me about Blackberries!

Jessie and I took our seats at one of the tables and looked at the menu, decorated with an overflowing cornucopia, to see what delights the evening had in store.  The menu was overflowing as well, a selection of seasonal salads followed by Spanish chicken or Ravioli stuff with Spinach with seasonal vegetables, and then Apple Crumble or Eton Mess, all rounded off with cheese, biscuits, coffee and sweets!

The salads were arranged on a table at the top of the hall and folk were invited to make their choice, they all looked very inviting and far too pretty to eat, but we did eat them and they were very tasty.  The Spanish chicken and vegetables followed, it was also very nice; the potatoes had been piped into pretty little swirls which must have taken someone ages to do.  It was a difficult decision to choose between the Apple Crumble or the Eton Mess, but it was harvest time so the Apple Crumble won for me!  The cheese and biscuits arrived, the selection was very tempting.  Finally the coffee and sweets ( including pieces of millionaire shortbread-what a good idea.) arrived, how could anyone eat any more?  But we did!

Description: Description: Description: harvest supper1.Jpg (1418534 bytes)The meal was accompanied by pleasant music, conversation and laughter. As always everyone involved in arranging, shopping, cooking or waiting worked very hard but the resulting evening was well worth their efforts. Everyone enjoyed themselves very much.

Written by Sue

The Trip to Broadstairs - 2nd August 2008

One Sunday morning I spotted amongst the notices on the morning Service Sheet that the social club was organising a trip to Broadstairs.  Thinking of blue skies and sunshine and balmy breezes I booked tickets for the Baker clan.  After a week of hot, humid and sunny weather, Saturday morning dawned cool, grey and damp.  The weather forecast promised showers and cloud for the whole day! Ever the optimist I loaded the bags with sun hats, sun cream, swimming gear and beach toys and headed off to St. Michaels with two very excited children, one less excited teenager and one decidedly reluctant husband!  The coach loaded up and left on time.  The dampness in the air became a steady drizzle.  As the coach swung on to the motorway just south of Bexleyheath someone asked “has it stopped raining?”  The windscreen wipers swished back and forth steadily.  No it hadn‘t.  The weather improved slowly and by the time we arrived in Broadstairs a weak sunshine was breaking through the cloud.

We followed the rest of the party to the beach.  The tide was in and only a narrow band of sand was exposed at the top of the beach.  It wasn’t crowded.  We strolled slowly around the jetty where one or two sailing boats were setting up.  By the time we arrived on the sand most of the group from St.. Michael’s Social Club had set up camp and were sitting determinedly in deckchairs in the cool air.  We decided to go for a stroll, find some lunch and save the beach for the afternoon when the tide had receded a little and the sun had grown a little stronger.  We walked through the cliff top gardens and looked across at some lovely old Victorian houses that must have had a wonderful view across the sea.  We followed the signs for the Dickens Museum but never found it, although during the day we found many houses with blue wall plagues saying that “Dickens lived here“, and naming books he had wrote in part at that location.  Judging by the number of plagues we saw he must have been a very itinerate man who spent many years living out of a suitcase! We walked back towards the main road through narrow streets with interesting little shops, the main road, not very much wider, housed  The Palace Cinema a tiny picture house not much larger than a standard semi and a police station, again tiny, that opened only between 10 and 2 o’clock and not at all on Sunday.  Not a lot of crime in Broadstairs!  We treated ourselves to fish and chips for lunch and sat at a table in the garden overlooking the sea.  As the food arrived so did the rain. We had to run for shelter taking our lunch with us!

Lunch over the children were determined to head for the beach.  We decided that they would get just as wet wandering around as they would playing in the sea so off we went.  The sea wasn’t really that cold and they all loved playing in it.  Peter off swimming, Jessie playing in the waves and Lawrence paddling as near the edge as we could persuade him because either Steve or I had to paddle with him!  It was amusing walking along the beach watching people resolutely enjoying a English summer day.  Paddling while wrapped in windcheaters huddled in little tents hugging hot cups of tea between grateful sips.  Or sitting in deckchairs huddled under brollies.  One large beach umbrella decorated with pictures of palm trees, orange sunsets and azure seas still firmly attached to the sand had blown inside out and was flapping violently in the wind.  Even the lifeguards on the beach were firmly wrapped in orange fleeces grimly looking out through the grey mist on the sea. It certainly wasn’t Bay Watch. I didn’t see any of them running but if they had needed to run into that uninviting sea no one would have blamed them if they had done so in slow motion! By this time most of the group from St. Michael’s had deserted the sands probably for the welcome of one of the local pubs if they had any sense!  After swimming, building sand castles and throwing a beach ball about for a while we took a walk along the cliff towards Stone Bay and back along the cliff top to the Bandstand where a concert was in progress.  Lawrence and I sat and listened to the brass band playing lots of tum did de tum tunes that sound so right at the seaside and Steve took Peter and Jessie off to play mini golf.

By the time they returned it was time to head back for the coach and head for home.  It was a shame that the weather had been so disappointing but it was a good day and we all enjoyed ourselves.  Guess what! As the coach pulled out of the car park on the homeward journey the sun finally broke through the cloud to give a lovely sunny evening.

Written by Sue

Silver Trail - 29th July 2008

On Sunday 29th July we gathered after Mass clutching our bags of silver coins we had been collecting for the last couple of months. People had been busy doing all sorts of things to raise money towards our heating fund: one person had given up buying her coffee at the station on the way to work and donated all the money she had raised, another had sold quiz sheets for £1 each, the Cubs and Beavers had done their own fundraising evening, someone had a competition to see how many words people could make from 'unclarity', while some else took in ironing, and one person took part in a sponsored 5km run (report below). Many more collected their loose change in rainbow coloured boxes which had been specially made.

Description: Description: Description: Picture 084.jpg (395924 bytes)After Mass the Altar was moved backwards and a rainbow marked out on the carpet in front of the Altar. Everyone then laid their coins. They were then picked up and counted, between us we had raised approximately £1200, getting our fund to buy new (working) heating for the church off to a good start.


5 k run - 6th July 2008

On Sunday 6th July Paul and I got up bright and early to head off for our first 5k run.  The forecast was for rain and strong winds but in the end it stayed dry and cool, just right for running.  When we entered back in March my aim was just to complete the race in under 1 hour. After a timed training run at Bluewater shopping centre, 2 weeks earlier, I now expected to finish in approximately 37 minutes and Paul in 34 minutes.  We had to get the first train of the morning to make sure we arrived at Charing Cross in time for the race.  Our race started at 8.35 am and was followed by a 10 k race at 9.30 am.  When we got to Trafalgar Square there were runners everywhere; there were 25,000 people doing the 10 k run and about 1000 doing the 5 k.  We headed off to where we were told the baggage bays would be for the 5 k race to leave our bags, only to find they weren’t there.  We were then sent to the 10 k baggage bays, only to be sent back to the 5 k starting point!  By then it was 8.25 am and a group of people had gathered, all still with their bags.  Eventually one of the stewards told us all to leave our bags on the pavement and he would look after them while we did the race – a bit worrying as the bags had our tickets home, money and mobile in, if they went missing we would have no way of getting home.

We quickly made our way to the start.  I was relieved to see there were only about 1000 of us doing the 5 k run; I had heard how many were doing the 10 k run and that it was so crowded it was difficult to run and would take some time before you got to the start line.  We only had a couple of minutes to wait before we were off.  We ran down the Victoria Embankment for about 1.5 km, doubled back on ourselves, past the starting point and up to the Houses of Parliament, then turning back to the finishing line.

Much to my delight I managed to keep up with Paul for the whole race, with him just pulling away from me in the sprint to the finish.  Paul finished in 34 minutes 12 seconds, and I finished in 34 minutes 15 seconds; very reasonable times for a first run.  After collecting our bags and getting our goody bags containing our medal, we made our way back to Charing Cross station.  I was surprised to see how many people were now lining the route waiting for the 10 k runners (who I understand included several celebrities) to pass them.  We made our way home tired but pleased that we had completed the run and raised quite a bit of money for the church for both the silver trail and the youth fund in sponsor money.  I’m told that running in addictive and am now planning my next challenge - maybe the 10 k run next year.

Carol Stead

The Garden Party - 29th July 2008

The Garden Party had been advertised on the Sunday Morning Service Sheet for several weeks, with a note suggesting posh frocks and hats might be suitable attire (for the ladies at least!).  The afternoon of the party arrived, all the tickets had been sold, and we gathered in the garden behind the Church.  Tables had been set up around the garden and several folk were already sitting and chatting together.  Others were trying their hand at the quiz that had been prepared.  The quiz was not as easy as it  first appeared, having been given a list of twenty five European countries, most of which had adopted the Euro and others that hadn’t.  The idea was to match the countries on the list with pictures of coins that hadDescription: Description: Description: Picture 088.jpg (391173 bytes) been displayed.  The winner was the person who matched the most coins and countries; non-euro currencies did not count!  I must admit that as someone whose most daring exploit abroad was a day trip to Calais I didn’t do very well!  I was impressed by some folks’ knowledge of things foreign though!

The afternoon was warm and pleasant, although there was a strong breeze that blew the napkins and paper plates around and necessitated the holding on of one or two rather splendid hats.  The children who had come along to the party amused themselves with skipping and clapping playground games.  The three little girls, Gabriele, Gerbija and Jessie, were very good at these games skipping clapping and twirling in unison.  They then decided that Father David should be introduced to the fun to be had from skipping up and down the garden. Father David, versatile as always, joined in with the children and skipped about the garden for some considerable time eventually mastering the heel-toe, clap, skip and twirl rhythm to the children’s delight (and the adults amusement.) but I think he was rather relieved when young James wanted to join in with the dance and he could sit the next one out with a well-earned Pimms!

Description: Description: Description: Picture 091.jpg (399271 bytes)The food and drink for the afternoon was lovely: sandwiches, lovely home made cakes, scones and dainty things on sticks and the final treat of strawberries and cream along with Pimms and fruit juice.  The party ended with a short service in the garden, lead by Father David and some cheerful singing lead by Michael.  Thank you to everyone who did all the hard work; it was a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.

Written by Sue.

A very English Saturday.

Saturday 14th June, a bright summer day with blue skies, warm sunshine. I  started the day by watching the Trooping of the Colour on the television.  In the afternoon Jessie and I headed off to take part in another long held tradition, the Church Summer Fair, although today the Church Fair comes in a variety of guises; the boot fair, the table fair and the bring and buy.  At St. Michael’s I am pleased to say it is still the Summer Fair.

The afternoon was warm, Jessie ran ahead of me in her summer frock and white ankle socks, and somewhere in the distance, I could hear the chimes of an ice cream van.  The smell of many barbecues being held in local gardens wafted in the air.  It really felt as if summer was here at last.  As we walked along Abbey Wood Road I could see the entrance to the Church Hall had been decorated with a large green gazebo and the railings had been festooned with balloons and bunting.  As we got nearer, we could see Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\summer fair1_small.jpgsome of the Explorers outside the door where they were busy selling hot dogs.  (Although I suspect they were eating as many as they were selling!)  Just inside the Church grounds the flower and plant stalls had been set up, the tables covered with colourful plants and the surrounding paths were transformed by planted pots.  The tomato plants had been well watered and were sheltering by a shady wall.  The scene was completed by some lovely bird tables, which I was told were made by a member of St. Michael’s congregation.  I promised myself some time to potter around this little bit of beauty but alas the afternoon passed by too quickly.

Inside, the hall was already busy with people walking about and viewing the various stalls on offer.  The stall nearest the door was busy selling raffle tickets, there Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\summer fair5_small.jpgwas a tombola, and a lucky dip.  As well as a bric-a brac stall, and a stall selling St. Michael’s souvenirs: tea towels, book-marks and key rings, the ever popular “hook a bag” stall was doing a steady trade.  There were beautiful handmade cards and photographs of the Church for sale and a stall selling original paintings by Peter, another members of St. Michaels congregation.  (We are a talented lot!)  There was a cake stall which was groaning under the weight of delicious looking cup cakes topped with cherries, chocolate or walnuts.

There was also popcorn with various sauces for sale. I ventured into the garden to find more stalls selling books and knitted items and lots of fun and games and Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\summer fair9_small.jpgside shows,Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\summer fair3_small.jpg children were trying to “wack” a bean-bag vicar as it ran down a pipe to get to church.  It is not as easy as it looked.  They also played hoopla or had a go at a side show game loosely based on football.  Karen was busy selling tickets for the children’s sweet tombola.  Carol was busy taking photos of anyone who wanted to appear in their own cheeky sea side style postcard.  Father David had been persuaded to have his photograph taken as a demonstration of what the finished post card looked like on the strict understanding that the post card and original photograph would be destroyed at the end of the fair.  I think some members of the church had other ideas and I am sure that the photograph will appear again!

I wandered back inside to the kitchen and lounge, which were busy with people enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and a lovely selection of homemade cakes.  The blueberry muffins looked very tempting.  Yet other folk were enjoying a well deserved stronger drink from the bar.

Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\summer fair2_small.jpgThe afternoon saw some members of the Jubilate Choir singing a selection of old music-hall songs that echoed down the generations.  Nearly all those present knew the words to the songs and many folk joined in with gusto.  One or two (who I think should remain nameless for the sake of their dignity!) did more than a few steps of the sailors’ hornpipe to the tune of “What shall we do with the drunken sailor.”  Meanwhile the back of the Church had been turned in to a makeshift dressing room for the majorettes who preformed some of their dance routines in the garden.  They preformed very well with white and purple flags and sparkly pink and silver pom-poms.  Towards the end of the fair Nick gave an impressive demonstration of Tai-Chi on the stage.

Finally the raffle was drawn, the prizes distributed, and the summer fair was over for another year.  I know many people work very hard organizing and preparing for the Church fair and clearing up afterwards.  It was worthwhile, the afternoon was a great success.

Written by Sue

Christian Aid Sponsored walk - 18th May 2008

After morning service on Sunday 18th May a group of us travelled together into central London to join the many other folk who were “Circling the City” on a sponsored walk in support of Christian Aid week.  Many people from St. Michaels as well as many others had been kind enough to sponsor our efforts.

The walk was due to start at St. Mary le Bow, we arrived in good time to register and find a seat for the short service that was to be held before the start of the walk.  The vicar opened the service with a prayer, then spoke briefly about the work of Christian Aid, and asked us to stop and pray as we passed the financial institutions on our route.  A Christian Aid official then showed some slides of the kind of people and situations that the money we raised would be going to help.  One fact that stuck in my mind is that many women have to walk about six miles each day to collect clean water.  Six miles was the same length as the walk on which we were about to embark.

We left St. Mary le Bow with a crowd of other people, many of whom were carrying red balloons emblazoned with the Christian Aid symbol.  The group from St. Michaels had decided to split into two groups so we could all walk at our own pace.  (I thought I might be somewhat slower than the more seasoned walkers amongst us!)  We started off at a dignified pace to St. Lawrence Jewry, so named because it was built in the eastern part of the city in the midst of the Jewish population, it was a beautiful little church, like so many that we passed in the course of the afternoon with a long and interesting history.  The entrance was decorated with red and white flags made from the familiar Christian Aid gift envelopes, we queued at the table and our check point card was signed and we were ready to move on.

The walk was great fun, the churches we visited were beautiful, and interesting but visiting so many in such a short space of time, they began to blur into each other in my mind. St. Magnus smelt of incense and contemplation and was very beautiful and in the Dutch Church, all the inscriptions on the wall were in the Dutch language.  Jessie took advantage of all the street entertainers who were dotted along the route; she enjoyed the magic tricks, the unicycling, and balloon modelling.  By the end of the walk, she was sporting a painted butterfly on her face and a large and ornate hat made from balloons.  Lawrence enjoyed the food and drinks provided in many of the churches where we signed in!  He especially enjoyed a steel band that was playing in All Hallows on the Wall; he joined in with a very bouncy dance and showed his appreciation to the band with a big clap at the end of the music.  Peter navigated and got us around to route with no problems.  He enjoyed the walk but did decline to wear a Viking Helmet fashioned from balloons that was offered to him at one of our stops!

We wandered along the city streets with their historic names and past famous landmarks.  I saw the Millennium Bridge and “The Gherkin” for the first time.  We ambled along the Thames embankment and down narrow little alleys that hid the entrances to large and impressive office buildings.  It was great fun talking to the children about the history of the city as we went along, about the bow bells, Cheapside and Fleet Street.  We talked about The Tower and Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, and Dickens London.  We saw some pubs with strange names, (no we didn’t go in!)  The Crutched Friar, The Banker and the Counting House along by the big bank buildings and who’d fancy a drink in the Hung Drawn and Quartered along by the Tower?

I was pleased to get back to St. Mary le Bow and get our sticker to say we had completed the walk.  My feet ached to; I couldn‘t help thinking about an unknown African woman returning with water for her family.  I don‘t have to do that walk tomorrow.  It was good to know that the money raised will help so many people.

Written by Sue

23rd March 2008 - Easter Breakfast

After the Easter Vigil we moved in to the Church Hall Lounge to take part in another tradition of Easter at St. Michaels, the Easter Breakfast.  This is organized and Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Daddy\Documents\Church\WebPages\web\images\Easter bbq_small.jpgcooked by Sue and Father Derek who, wearing matching striped aprons had everything under control.  Sue was in the kitchen cooking at the stove (in our rather smart new kitchen!) and Father Derek was outside at the barbeque cooking steaks and sausages and other tempting goodies.  I like that time spent sitting and waiting for breakfast, it is warm, and there is a cheerful atmosphere and the welcoming smells of breakfast cooking.  There’s time to talk to people, not only friends that you talk to every week, but because space in the room is limited you end up sitting with folk you don’t really know at all, it is interesting to chat and get to know people you see most weeks, but know little about them, sometimes not even their name! Breakfast as always was very enjoyable.  This year it was marked by a sudden heavy snow shower, which forced Father Derek to remove himself and the barbeque to the shelter of the hall.  The hall rapidly filled with smoke, which raised concerns about the smoke alarm going off.  The fire brigade did not arrive but if they had, they could have been made very welcome there was plenty of food!  Michael, having spotted the snow tried to lead a singsong of adapted Christmas favourites such as “I’m dreaming of a white Easter” and the like!

Breakfast over people began to drift back to Morning Mass or off home much happier for having shared Easter Morning together.  The Church was very full for the ten o’clock Mass with nearly every seat filled.  So many people of all ages present, children playing in the children’s area and a diamond wedding to celebrate at the end of the Service as well!  It was a very happy morning.  Sue and Fr Derek worked very hard with all the cooking and cleaning up.  Nevertheless, it was surly worthwhile and everyone had a very good time.

Written by Sue