After my two-day visit to North Wales, I headed back across Offa’s Dyke, to Nottingham in the English East Midlands, spending the weekend staying with my son Phillip and future daughter-in-law Lisa, in their recently purchased new home. This has a guest bedroom meaning no more sleeping in a cellar without windows, or in a sleeping bag on the settee, as I have in times past 🙂
Ever since his childhood growing up in North Oxfordshire, Phillip has been a fan of Oxford United FC and is currently a season ticket holder. Months previously, when I was organising this visit, we agreed that we would go down to Oxford together and watch OUFC play Hartlepool United on Saturday 23rd April.
At that time, we didn’t know how critical the match would be. As it was, with this match and two more to go, OUFC were in third place in League Two and would gain automatic promotion if they were to win all three games, irrespective of any other results. Not surprisingly therefore, the game attracted a big crowd.
I drove us down to Bicester, from where we were driven onwards to the ground by Len, the father of Phillip’s friend Jov. It was a good game which ended in a 2 – 0 victory for Oxford United. For those who don’t follow these things, OUFC did also win their final two games, finished second in League Two and will thus play in League One next season.
On the morning of Sunday 24th April, I took a five-minute walk from Phillip & Lisa’s home, to their parish Church of St Jude, attending the 09.15 service of Holy Communion. I did to the Vicar, Rev’d John Allister, what regularly happens to me in Prague, revealing myself as a fellow Anglican priest at the end of the service. In Prague, this happens with some frequency – on the Sunday after Easter, I even had a bishop in mufti, with his wife, worshipping with us.
John Allister and I had previously been in email conversation but this was the first time we had met in person. He has kindly given permission for me to officiate at Phillip and Lisa’s forthcoming wedding at the end of July, which will take place in his Church. As I have often said, the geography of the Church building, does influence the way a wedding is conducted, so it was good to see the inside of the Church as well as receiving some helpful practical advice from John.
Early on Sunday afternoon, my daughter Christa, son-in-law Ian, together with my grandson Finley arrived, having driven up from Daventry where they live. Lisa cooked us a late Sunday lunch which we all enjoyed together. I must apologise to the ladies, that I only have photographs of the male members of the family to illustrate this post. Below is Ian, reading to Finley, the book being a small present from me to my grandson.
And below is a delightful photograph of Finley, enjoying toddling about in Phillip and Lisa’s garden.