Santa’s little helper (aka Nick) has been caught decorating the tree in the memorial garden again this year. Thank you Nick for the pleasure you bring and for helping us to remember the loved ones no longer with us.
Summer solstice – the longest day. A time to get outside and celebrate God’s abundant creation.
So that is what we did today, we had a work morning and barbeque. Because of the beautiful weather we spent nearly all of the time out in the church and vicarage gardens, cutting the abundantly growing grass, planting more fruit trees, tidying the memorial garden, clearing the access route to the new gate into the garden and cleaning the patio area.
Many visitors dropped in to say hello and inspect the garden and it was great to have visitors from the meditation group and a couple from Norfolk who studied here in Leeds back in the 1960s.
The barbeque helped to refuel us and we are very pleased with the progress we have made. The garden is beginning to look fantastic and fruitful with apples, strawberries, peas and rosehips (eventually!) There is a long way to go, loads still to be done but progress is being made and the garden shows that even with poor stony soil it is possible to grow food. If only we shared God’s abundance more equally I am sure there would be enough to go round!
My apologies for the lack of photos this time, we were so busy I forgot to take many!
Back in March a rose was planted in the memorial garden in memory of Andrew Shackleton. Here is a photo of the wonderful flowers it is producing.
It is nearly two years since Andrew died (the date was 16 April 2012), and David Randolph-Horn and the PCC decided that we should plant a rose in the Memorial Garden in his memory. Andrew’s mother Marion wanted to commemorate him in this way, and it was lovely that she was able to be there and to take part.
The date set for the planting was Sunday 9 March 2014, and on the previous day Marion and I went to Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate to buy the rose. We chose a beautiful red rose called ‘Benjamin Britten’, particularly appropriate as Andrew loved classical music and Britten was also gay.
David shakes the rose bush out of its container
Sunday was an amazingly beautiful day, warm and sunny, more like early summer than early spring: so it was no hardship to start the service outside in the Memorial Garden. We all gathered around the corner where the volunteer group had prepared the ground and dug a suitable hole. David was presiding, and he led us in a version of the Gathering responses for Lent, adapted to remind us of some of Andrew’s spiritual fruits and gifts.
We each took turns to throw some earth around the rose
Then came the planting of the rose bush. After David had placed the rose in its hole, we all took turns to throw some earth in, starting with the children (trowels were provided). It wasn’t hurried; we had time to think of Andrew and to remember with gratitude all he had brought to us as individuals and as a spiritual community. Then we went inside to continue the service.
David helps Marion, Andrew’s mother, to come forward
After the service we remembered to give the newly planted rose a good soaking with water, to give it a good chance of settling in and thriving!
Andrew John Shackleton 1954–2012
May he rest in peace and rise in glory
Photographs © Jan Betts 2014