The wedding of Phillip and Lisa

Welcome poster featuring Phillip’s artwork. Photo © Ricky Yates

On Saturday 30th July 2016, I had the privilege of officiating at the marriage of my son Phillip, to my new daughter-in-law, Lisa. The wedding took place at the Parish Church of St. Jude, Mapperley, Nottingham and was followed by a reception in the neighbouring Church Hall.

Phillip and Lisa announced their engagement in December last year, whilst on a short trip to Lisbon, Portugal. In early January 2016, Phillip wrote to me saying that they planned to be married in July this year and would like me to officiate, if I would be willing to do so. My response was that if that was what both of them wanted, then I would be more than happy to officiate and would regard doing so as a great privilege.

. . . → Read More: The wedding of Phillip and Lisa

I have a new passport!

New and old passports © Ricky Yates

Just over two weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled ‘Dealing with British bureaucracy‘, in which I described the hurdles I was seeking to overcome, in order to obtain a new British passport. At the end of that post I wrote, ‘Watch this space to see if in two weeks time, I have been successful in my quest’. So here is the promised update.

On the evening of Wednesday 27th July, I flew from Prague to Luton, where I picked up my pre-arranged hire car and drove to the outskirts of Peterborough, where I had booked to stay the night. The next morning, I drove into the city and followed signs to a multi-storey car park, just a short walk from the Passport Office.

My appointment was for 10.30 with the clear instruction . . . → Read More: I have a new passport!

My April 2016 visit to the UK – ICS Chaplains Conference

Alyson Lamb and Paul Vrolijk being interviewed by Richard Bromley, ICS Mission Director © Ricky Yates

As I explained in my earlier post, I spent the second half of my time in the UK, attending the annual ICS Chaplains Conference which this year took place at Ashburnham Place Conference Centre, near Battle in East Sussex. Whilst being conveniently located for reaching Dover and my return journey to Prague, I wasn’t otherwise very enamoured with the venue.

However, as always, I enjoyed meeting and hearing from my fellow Chaplains ministering in a variety of situations across Europe, and a couple from farther afield. And for the first time, I was invited to speak myself, giving what was billed as a ‘TED talk’, about my ministry in Prague, Brno and Dresden. It was very nice to have positive feedback from several of . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – ICS Chaplains Conference

My April 2016 visit to the UK – a family weekend

Jov and Phillip, awaiting the start of the match © Ricky Yates

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 . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – a family weekend

My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway

Aberglaslyn Pass © Ricky Yates

As a teenager in the 1960s, I enjoyed several visits to North Wales – either on geography field trips, or walking holidays, staying overnight in youth hostels. On a number of occasions during those visits, I walked through the beautifully rugged Aberglaslyn Pass, following the line of a long defunct railway. This included walking through three short tunnels, hewn through protruding outcrops of rock.

Research using my local library back in Coventry, revealed that what I had walked along was part of the line of the narrow gauge Welsh Highland Railway, which had closed in 1937. A few years later in 1941, the track and rolling stock had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence, to support the ongoing war effort.

Much as I liked the idea that one day, what must have been a most wonderful . . . → Read More: My April 2016 visit to the UK – a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway