Sunday, April 12, 2009
EASTER AT ELSTOW ABBEY
Happy Easter to you all! Today I went to the Easter Sunday Family Service at Elstow Abbey and sang some rousing Easter hymns. I have sung in church choirs for many years in Southern England - Portsmouth Cathedral, London University, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Cople, Bedfordshire and St. Andrew's Church, Bedford. Elstow Abbey is undoubtedly the oldest, most historic and loveliest church I have sung in, with a friendly modern Vicar, Jeremy Crocker.
Elstow Abbey was founded in 1078 as a Benedictine Nunnery by Countess Judith, niece of William the Conqueror and became a church after the Dissolution of the Monsteries in 1539 by King Henry VIII, whose crest is on the back wall of Elstow Abbey. John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was baptised and married in Elstow Abbey and his baptismal font is still used today for christenings. I am also Chairman of the Friends and we raise money for refurbishing Elstow Abbey and its organ.
On Thursday we had a solemn Maundy Thursday service, remembering the Last Supper attended by Jesus and his Disciples. The Abbey was then prepared for Good Friday. Today was a happier day, celebrating Jesus' Resurrection. After the service I rushed home to finish cooking Sunday lunch for 8 as my two daughters and 4 small grandchildren came over for the day. After an excellent lunch of Spring lamb and turkey, the children had an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden and then walked across the fields to Elstow Playing Field to the children's playground. We had a special Easter cake to celebrate the birthday of my elder daughter Sarah, with all the children singing Happy Birthday to her and enjoying their Easter eggs.
Tonight my younger daughter Helen and two grandchildren - Jessica, 6 and Oliver, 4 - are staying here and tomorrow they head south for a short camping holiday in the New Forest so my house will be quiet, peaceful and tidy again!
They say with children that for 20 years you cannot stand the noise and for the next 20 years you cannot stand the silence. Certainly it is all or nothing with small children and very noisy until they are tucked up in bed. Having brought up two daughters, I enjoy the pleasures of being a grandmother and not having to cope with the intensity of 24/7 childcare which can be very exhausting, especially for Helen, who is now divorced and a single working mother.