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Magazine April 2021

You will receive this after Easter as the March magazine, arriving late, had an article about Easter. The article from 100 years ago is inspiring and seems really relevant during this Covid pandemic. As usual there is something about the month and article about two saints remembered this month. The quiz about events in April has some surprising answers – the correct ones are right at the end. There are two short passages, one by J. D. Sedding and one by Francis Paget, give food for thought. Charlie has solved the problem about what “I’m going shopping” really means. A seniors version of Facebook could inspire you to do likewise but hopefully with a better outcome. It is not all serious as two extracts sent to me show.

Let us hope that things will return to a ‘new’ normal in the near future.

Take care and keep safe. Eva.

The month of April.

There is no recognised reason why April got its name. Some say that April was sacred to Venus (Latin name) or to Aphrodite (Greek version).

It is possibly linked to Aprilis and ‘apirire’ meaning open. Thus relating to the awakening of life and buds burst open and the world wakes up after the winter sleep. It is also a time when plants begin to grow and so hope is renewed.

The Anglo-Saxons called it Eastre-monap. The Venerable Bed says that ‘eastre’ is the root of the word ‘Easter’.

The Catholic and Orthodox Churches call it the Resurrection Month.

It is also known as the Humour Month.

Weather lore.

If early April be foggy

Rain in June will make lanes muddy.

When April blows its horn

‘Tis good for hay and corn.

Till April’s dead, change not a thread.

A wet April – good wheat.

April showers bring forth May flowers.

Some customs connected with this month.

1st Sunday – Daffodil Sunday. During Victorian times daffodils were picked from gardens and taken to local hospitals.

The 6th. Was a time for Candle Auctions. Candles were lit and a pin was inserted about an inch from the top. People bid to have a piece of church land for a year. The successful person was the one whose candle was the first to burn and release the pin.

The 19th was called Primrose Day. In the 19th century as primroses were picked in memory of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and placed on memorials to him. He died on this day.

April 1st is April Fools Day and is sometimes celebrated now. It is a time when anything, however outrageous can be said and if it is acknowledged by the hearer they are an ‘April Fool’. Such activity must stop at noon otherwise the trickster in the ‘April Fool’.

Some years specific statements have been printed in papers and announced on radio and TV.

Here are some of them: 1. Spaghetti shown growing on trees.

2. Lions are bathing at the Tower of London.

3. Hawks are too be used to carry cameras to catch people speeding on the M.1.

4. Some penguins can fly.

April 14th. St. Tiburtins’ Day. If you hear a cuckoo on this day turn over your money in your pockets, spit without looking at the ground. If you do this standing on soft ground you will have good luck, and if standing on hard ground you will have bad luck.

From a 100 years ago.

Dolly: A Sketch. By Katherine Kennedy.

Dolly lived in a small street backing on to the railway. Her mother, who if charm and vivacity always won their deserts would have lead a salon, had been “in good service” in Devonshire, which she had left to marry a railway porter. They found their way to London, where their children were born, but Dolly was a typical Devonshire dumpling. Not quite typical, however, for “dumpling” implies a certain solidity, and Dolly, together with rosy cheeks and a long plait, had grey eyes full of light, as changeable as a Devonshire brook. In spite of passing trains the little house was spotless; and Dolly inherited from her mother such a dainty cleanliness (learnt perhaps from “my ladies” in Devonshire) as is seldom found in the byways of a large town.

When I made Dolly’s acquaintance she was twelve years old, and had just won a scholarship to a secondary school. At our first meeting she and her brother were doing their preparation on either side of the kitchen table.”Dad” was having his tea, in an arm chair, the cat watching lazily for anything that might come her way. “Dicky” peeped sidelong through the bars of his cage at the pot of flowers beneath, and “Mum” moved quietly about, happy in the order of her home. I was indeed a picture of peace.

Not that Dolly was often silent for long. Her life was full of interests, and she bubbled over with enthusiasm about school friends, or great events connected with Sunday school and church. As some folk are born with a genius for literature or art, so Dolly was born with a genius for religion. Hers was a joyous spirit, so natural and spontaneous that none could doubt its reality. “This glorious Gospel, she seemed to say(not with her lips but in her life), “is so true that you can’t help rejoicing! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

During the next Christmas holiday I saw Dolly pretty frequently. She was acting in a little play, and this, the Bethlehem Tableaux, her new red frock, the Carol Service and the Sung Eucharist on Christmas Day were alternate sources of delight for her. She stamped herself on my mind as brilliant grey eyes and a smile, flashing hither and thither above short red skirts and slim legs, with a brown plait left behind by the swift movement of its owner. In March I wrote to the vicar to inquire the exact date of Dolly’s birthday, and heard she was ill. Next came a request to send her some flowers in hospital, and a few days later the incredible news that an operation had proved useless, and that Dolly was doomed.

She was soon brought home, and I saw her half-reclining in bed, a trifle subdued perhaps, but enjoying the company of her friends, and still busy with needlework and books. But as the summer drew on the Devonshire roses faded, the ominous swelling increased, and Dolly looked years older. She missed her many interests, especially of school and church. Also, as she remarked after a flash of irritability, “it was all very well to lie down, but better to stand up and be good.”

In August her mother took her home to Devonshire, and the story of that journey is one more proof of Christianity’s triumph in this world; for no woman could travel two hundred miles with a helpless child unless assisted by many saints.

Dolly was no better for her journey. She lay now on a sofa by the kitchen fire. There in the evening she greeted her friends with an occasional flicker of fun, and the neighbours vied with one another in brightening her life. The watchmaker took some of his work to Dolly’s bedside for her amusement. Your privates on leave came to tell her of such tales as they thought fitting about the war. Boys and girls brought books and flowers, and the vicar hung her favourite picture of an Alpine valley in June where she could see it continually.

The vicar was Dolly’s most faithful visitor. He had long since discovered her exceptional spiritual development and had allowed her to be confirmed when she was eleven years old. She had responded to his trust, and from her Confirmation day until she went to bed she had never been absent on a Sunday from the Holy Eucharist. Her father had been confirmed because, as Dolly said, it seemed silly that he could not come with her to the service she liked best of all. Now the Sanctus bell rang daily to tell her of her favourite service, and the number on communicants increased for their love for this child who in one way and another had unconsciously helped many of them.

Dolly had a gift for expressing great spiritual truths. During the last month of her life she said one night to a friend; “Do you ever feel you want to pray about something very much, and you don’t quite know what it is? I do – then I look at Jesus on the Cross, and I say to Him, “You know what I wan – You pray it for me.” Strange that a child of thirteen should grasp the whole theology of “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Yet not strange after all, “Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes.”

There is little more to tell. The last time I saw Dolly she could only whisper, and her face was like a shadow in which shone two grey lights. But she was still enthusiastic – on the subject of Christmas puddings. Before Christmas she was gone to take her place among those saints who

“Climbed the steep ascent of heaven

Through peril, toil and pain.

O God, to us may grace be given

To follow in their train.”

* * * * * *

Someone has observed that when wonder is excited, and the sense of beauty gratified, there is instant recreation, and a stimulus that lifts one out of life’s ordinary routine. This marks the function of a garden where, but for its presence , the common place might predominate. There is no spot like a garden for cultivating the kindly social virtues. Its perfectness puts people on their best behaviour. Its nice refinement secures the mood for politeness. Its heightened beauty produces the disposition that delights in what is beautiful in form and colour. J. D. Sedding.

Quiz about events which happened in April.

Can you give the year when these events happened? Select from the following years:

1509; 1606; 1633; 1770; 1827; 1828; 1909; 1838; 1912; 1923; 1926;

1931; 1934; 1945; 1957; 1961; 1969; 1973; 1978; 1998.

1) April 1st. V.A.T. was introduced.

2) 6th. Robert Edwin Peary reached the North Pole.

3) 7th. The first matches were sold.

4) 8th. Brunel’s new steamship, Great Western, left Bristol on her maiden voyage to Boston.

5) 10th Bananas went on sale for the first time in London.

6) 10th. The Good Friday Agreement was signed.

7) 12th. The Union Flag became the official flag for Britain.

8) 12th. Yuri Gagarin made the first flight into space.

9) 14th. The Highway Code first issued.

10) 15th R.M.S Titanic struck an iceberg and sank.

11) 17th. The age at which a person was allowed to vote was lowered from 21 to 18 in U.K.

12) 18th the first launderette opened.

13) 19th. Post marks were introduced in Britain by the Post Office.

14) 21st. Henry VIII became king of England after the death of his father Henry VII.

15) 21st. Queen Elizabeth II was born.

16) 26th. The Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later King George VI and

Queen Elizabeth were married in Westminster Abbey.

17) 26th. The first broadcast of “The Sky at Night” took place.

18) 27th. The Zoological Society of London opened a zoological garden in London.

Visitors were asked not to poke the animals in their cages.

19) 28th. James Cook arrived in Botany Bay, Australia, the first European to do so.

20) 30th. Adolf Hitler shots himself in his hideaway bunker in Berlin.

* * * * * *

A human life is often like a common soldier’s experience in some historic battle. Hour after hour he waits and wonders, with very little to do, as it seems: simply staying where he was told to stay: knowing little of what is going on: and all is safe, and rather tedious. But then – – – the order comes: – – and in the next ten minutes, perhaps, he has borne his part in the disaster or the triumph of the day. Quietly and quickly and obscurely it may be, the opportunity of our life, the venture that is marked with our name, for us to make it, will come before us. And then we may be unready: we may ignore it in our dullness; we may misunderstand it in our wilfulness; we may refuse it in our timidity; and if we do, probably it will never come again. We may be safer, very likely, where we are; the venture may be irrevocable. Yes, and so is the refusal: we can never be quite what we should have been if only we had been ready when the moment came. For through all life, and through every crisis of life, the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins holds its truth:

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.” Francis Paget.

“I’m going shopping.”

I have heard this over and over again and sometimes more than twice a day. Doesn’t shopping mean buying something? I always thought that and a laden bag would be brought through the door.

I must be wrong! The meaning of the word must have changed, but why? Is it only me that is confused? Let’s get things straight.

‘Going’ means leaving the house – I often do that when I am told we are going out and a walk is on the cards. What fun that could be! Will the rabbits be nibbling the grass or a fox chasing across the field? With luck they will be waiting to torment me; unfortunately a lead stops me from giving chase (I do not come back when I am called).

‘Shopping’ – what exactly does that mean? I am left at home – that’s what I know. But why if going out means just that? Let me think – I have been sleeping a lot recently – it’s the pain killers after having 4 teeth out.

It’s happened again: “I’m going shopping”. The front door has been shut and here I am all alone. Time to doze and ponder. I listen; the gates are opened and the garage door has gone up and the car leaves. So shopping must mean a longer journey than a walk. But what? That’s another problem; sometime the car is not used. Does it mean I am not wanted? Surely not! So I must think on – – -.

It can’t mean going to church as I usually go to and I am welcomed. Is it visiting friends but I cannot go as they have cats I would want to chase. Surely it’s not because they are frightened of little gentle me.

I think I’ve got it at last: “you cannot go where I am going- I do not want to leave you behind but laws have to be obeyed”. It is not shopping after all. It means “be good, guard the house and I will soon be back”.

Have I solved the problem? Yes! I am happy now. Good bye, Charlie.

Senior’s Version of Facebook.

For those of my generation who do not, and cannot, comprehend why Facebook exists: I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles. Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom. Ii give them pictures of my family, my dog and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the garden, standing in front of landmarks, driving round town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day. I also listen to their conversations, giving them a “thumbs up” and tell them I “like” them. And it works just like Facebook. I already have 4 people following me: 2 police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.

Some quotes from news sheets.

The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.

Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery down stairs.

Two saints remembered this month.

April 3rd. St Richard of Chichester. Born in 1197.

Richard of Wyche (i.e. Droitwich) went to Oxford, Paris and Bologna to study after dealing with a decayed family estate. He became chancellor of Oxford University and diocesan chancellor to St. Edmond of Canterbury. He was ordained and became parish priest at Deal. In 1244 he was appointed bishop of Chichester by Bishop Beniface of Canterbury in opposition to King Henry III’s unworthy candidate. He was prevented by force from taking possession of his see for two years and had to administer from a nearby rectory. He was a stern reformer of his clergy, as generous in giving alms and lived a simple life. He died while on a preaching tour in 1253.

A passage from ‘Lives of English Saints’ seems to sum up his life.

“One of his attendants said to him: “My Lord, your supper is but scanty today; it consists of only one dish, of which I hope you will eat heartily.” Richard said:”It is enough; one dish only is wanted at that supper.” He added: “Do you know what I mean? This is that of which St. Philip said to our Lord: ‘Show us the father, and that is enough for us.’ May the Lord give me that dish for my supper.”

Shortly before he died, he asked for a crucifix, and receiving it with joy, kissed the marks of the five wounds, saying: “Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thee hast given me, for the pains and insults which thou hast suffered for me, so great were they, that that mournful cry suited thee right well, “there is no grief like my grief”.

His voice grew weaker, but his faculties were unimpaired and he still managed to speak in broken accents to those about him. When his end was drawing near, he said: “Lay this putrid carcass on the ground.” So when they had laid his suffering frame on the floor, he repeated over and over again: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

April 23rd. St. George.

This legendary warrior and saint was thought to have been born in Cappadocia in Asia Minor and to have been a high ranking Roman officer. He was martyred in Lydda in Palestine at the beginning of the 3rd century. From early times he was especially venerated by the Greek church but has only been popular in the west since the 13th century. In England he was made patron saint in 1222 and of the Order of the Garter about a century later. His cross is the national flag of England and is incorporated in the national flag.

Little is known about him and it appears that there are more legends associated with him than facts. Despite this he is the patron saint of many cities and countries and numerous churches have been dedicated to him. He is patron saint of Malta, Ethiopia and Georgia and cities including Aragon in Spain and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Legends include the fact that his body was cut into 365 pieces after he fell in battle in Georgia and the pieces were spread around the country. Traditions in Africa state that the spots on the moon represent the miraculous saint, his horse and his sword slaying the dragon and are ready to defend anyone seeking his help. In Aragon, Spain, the 23rd is regarded as “Aragon day” as legend recalls the way he appeared on the battle field and led to King Pedro I of Aragon winning the Battle of Alcoraz in 1096.

The best known legend relates to the killing of the dragon, the subject of most icons depicting him. It frequently relates to the way he rescued a damson, chained, to be sacrificed to a dragon. George killed the dragon and saved the damson. In the Middle Ages the dragon was regarded as Satan, representing evil in the world, being overcome by the courage of St. George. In many mystery plays this is re-enacted as virtue overcomes evil.

Out of the mouths of children:-

“Judas Asparagus was one of the disciples but he wasn’t very nice.”

“Moses had led his people through the desert for 40 years because even in Bible times men didn’t like asking the way.”

“When Mary heard she was going to be the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.”

“Paul preached about holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.”

Answers to the quiz.

1) 1973.

2) 1909

3) 1827

4) 1838

5) 1633

6) 1998

7) 1606

8) 1961

9) 1931

10) 1912

11) 1969

12) 1934

13) 1975

14) 1509

15) 1926

16) 1923

17) 1957

18) 1828

19) 1770

20) 1945.