Linking up with Tania Vaughan's new blog series, to proactively take Sunday into the rest of the week. Sundays are suddenly different. Not better not worse - just different. After 33 years, my husband is no longer a full time priest; nor am  I on a church staff any more. I am just - JUST!  - a normal pew filler. Well, chair occupier. And it's different from the back row than the front one.

Especially where we are now going to 'church.' I say church advisedly - we meet in Komedia, "Bath's award-winning venue for comedy, music, cabaret and club nights " as it describes itself. So yesterday the floor was sticky - noisily sticky. It's a dark theatre with no windows. And we sit on theatre-type red plush velvet chairs.

Its not Anglican. We are even having a sabbatical from that.

Two baskets are passed around after the worship. One is to contribute financially if one feels prompted to do so - we are told there is no pressure and certainly not for visitors; the other is - oh joy!  - full of sweets! Help yourself to something to chew/suck/delight in during the talk. Red love hearts of dark chocolate. Miniature tubes of parma violets and love hearts. Lollipops.

Yesterday, I took 2 red shiny papered chocolate hearts. Smoothed the empty papers and folded and refolded as I tried to listen.

But MY heart was full of something else.

Something we had sung.

"And I - I surrender

All to you, All to you ..."

It wasn't the 'normal' surrender - me, my life, my desires, my possessions ....

It was the pain of the previous week.

Surrendering even that. Letting go of my right to the pain.

It was all I had to offer up. I opened palms up, imagined the pain leaning on them.

Here it is, Lord. It's all I have right now to give You.

* * *

Monday morning. Awakening to the memory of the pain.

And the memory of the offering. Offered once, now offered again.

The reality of Sunday's offering needed in the reality of the light of Monday morning.

* * *

And again, a certain relief in the offering. Remembering how it felt the first time. Needing to feel that again - 'seeing' Him on the Cross metaphorically leaning down to take my pain and add it to what is already carried in His body.

Died He for me - who caused His pain?


And for those pains of mine and for those who caused them.

Amazing Grace.

I surrender all to You - even my pain.

And in surrendering, know His grace.

I will need it again tomorrow - and tomorrow - for I forget and the vision leaks.

* * *

Monday is the test of Sunday's reality. To God be the glory. All is gift.


Asking for your prayers - please?

Dear praying friends - I have a huge favour to ask of you!  As you know, I am leading a Pilgrimage again this year, with 12 of us walking from Chipping Campden to Bath Abbey, in just over a week's time: we meet on Wednesday September 12th and begin walking on Thursday morning. During the Pilgrimage, I will be leading and guiding the walking, and each evening giving a talk on a walk in Scripture.  There will be verses to learn as we walk, and times of prayer and meditation; and often I find I need to be spiritual director for some who want individual help.So my reason for writing is to ask if you would be willing to pray,  and especially to support me in prayer as I lead this week's adventure! I feel very ill-equipped, spiritually and physically, this year more than ever before; and desperately need prayer for strength, grace, wisdom and love.  Prayers for safety, too, as we walk up and down the Cotswold Escarpments, covering 100 miles in just 6 days; for good weather; for friendships to be made; and more than anything for each person to hear the Lord speak to her deeply. And pray for my husband Kim, left at home alone, not something he finds easy!  Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.  

Monday/Tuesday September 10/11th

I will be co-leading the Church Staff Retreat with Kim - I'm doing the cooking! Please pray for stamina and for a sense of excitement and anticipation, and that our recent holiday will have been really refreshing spiritually and physically.  

Wednesday September 12th 

The pilgrims meet at Heathrow Airport & a shuttle takes us to Chipping Campden. We'll have the first evening's session (each session includes worship, talk and prayers) Please pray for safety in travel, for safe arrivals, and for a good time as we begin to get to know one another.

Thursday September 13th

The Pilgrimage begins - with the longest day, 17 miles to Winchcombe. Please pray for stamina to walk and then to give a talk in the evening! And for good rest and sleep each night. 

Friday September 14th 

The shortest day, just 14 miles to Charlton Kings. Pray that I can find the hotel - it's off the Path and I have to map read a different footpath to get there!

Saturday September 15th

As we walk to Painswick, please pray that the meditations and spiritual exercises we will be doing as we walk each day will be meaningful and that the Lord will really speak to people in a deep lifechanging way.

Sunday September 16th

We head to North Nibley, where there is a huge monument to Tyndale, printer of the Bible in English.  Please pray that the Bible will come alive to us in new ways as we read and pray through Scripture, using Contemplative prayer and Lectio Divina.

Monday September 17th

Walking to Tormarten, we will gain views of the Severn estuary and the Welsh hills. Please pray that our horizons will be enlarged by the Lord and we will continue to be open to what HE may be saying to us; and for me to be a channel to be used by Him.

Tuesday September 18th

The final day, walking into Bath; and then a short service the Abbey itself. Then the final talk and Communion together. Please pray that we get there in one piece!  And for the final evening to be very special as we reflect on where we've come from and what we've learned, and what the Lord is leading us on to.

Wednesday September 19th

Parting after such a profound experience can be painful. Please pray that I am understanding and helpful; that people are depending on the Lord and not on one another; and that travels home are easy and uneventful for everyone.

THANK YOU for your prayers: we really really need them!

Nostalgia, Chocolate and Cakes



I am writing a daily blog (Monday to Friday)  on preparing spiritually and physically

to lead a Pilgrimage of 100 miles in September.

for details of the Pilgrimage, click on the dropdown Cotwold Pilgrimage bar at the top of this page 


I have to bake a rich dark fudgy chocolate cake.

Not for me, you understand.  For our annual college reunion.

When we first began to do this each June, it was a black tie affair, usually at a London restaurant.  People had left Cambridge and were working their way up various corporate ladders or into Chambers.

My husband and I were in the church, even then. Some years we just couldn’t afford to go.

Now, we are all retiring, or about to; becoming grandparents; on second or in some cases third marriages.  Life changes. Two took early retirement and were ordained into the Church of England as unpaid assistants.


So much for those heady days as Cambridge students who were going to change the world.

Tomorrow we are gathering once again.

In wellies and waterproofs.

On someone’s organic (naturally) farm. They’ve dropped out  - to make cider and live off the proceeds of former success.

And we are having a bring and share early supper. 5.30pm. Perhaps we all prefer to retire early these days, not drive too late.

Or for several of us, to be bright eyed and bushytailed at the 8am service on Sunday morning.


I have been assigned the chocolate cake. My problem is, which recipe to follow.

Nigella’s “serves 12 or 1 with a broken heart.”   I made that for the youngest daughter years ago after a particular heartbreaking end to a romance. Holidays from Durham University.

Delia’s chocolate truffle torte.  As a family, we enjoyed it for dessert on Christmas Day for years and years – remembering the first year when the shops all sold out of liquid glucose. Christmas in Stamford, Lincolnshire, for twelve years.

Mary Berry’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake.  Three layers of decadence.  I made that for the elder daughter’s wedding, cooking it in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, seven years ago near Bath, for we were living in the States.

Good Housekeeping’s White Chocolate Cake Sensation.  My son’s twenty first birthday at Lumley Castle near Durham. I learnt to temper the chocolate and carve it to make decorations.

And then further back: the Stork Chocolate Cake recipe of my teens – does any one ever use Stork margerine these days? The recipe is copied into my old recipe book, tatty and smeared with  - marg, probably.

I pick up recipe books, flick through ideas – and another recipe drops out.

Vegetable Diet, it says.  Looses 4lbs in two days.

Sublime to the ridiculous. But I remember that diet, too; sometimes it was even just grapes and water for 2 or 3 whole days.

No wonder I was so slim in those far-off days – a stone (14 lbs to the Americans!) lighter than now.  My doctor recently told me off for being so thin in my 30’s and 40’s and suggested that it was a contributing factor to the osteoporosis.

IS that an excuse to indulge?

Back to choosing a chocolate cake recipe.  Time for a change?

A NEW RECIPE.  Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, made with Maya Gold Chocolate. “If chilled overnight it will be dense, fudgy and wicked.”

Sounds perfect.


The Lord promises,

The former things have passed away.

I make all things new   (Rev 21)

Our God is in the business of new things, of change in order to bring completion and perfection. And that includes you and me.

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.  (Rev.21:3-7)