Hello! Hope you’re enjoying the Spring weather and plants, the longer evenings and slightly warmer afternoons.We’re writing this from sunny Falmouth – a wonderful Sunday-to-Wednesday holiday staying in a beautiful flat (belonging to friends of ours) overlooking the sea. Been very much looking forward to this long-weekend away!

Ben’s job is still going well – the cafe is at the point where it’s a sustainable business that isn’t any longer struggling to stay afloat, which is fantastic and means that the staff can now have more of a focus on the vision for the cafe, and on how they might make it more ‘missional’, whatever that might look like. We’ll see what happens!

My job has been taking me with increasing frequency to the North Cotswolds in addition to the work in Barnwood and Hucclecote, but in more of a guide/support capacity – talking with people, groups and organisations who want to do ‘community building’ in some way but want to talk through how to begin. The offices will be moving to Cheltenham in early next year, so there have been lots of internal meetings about that, too – and about what things will be like when we get there.

Thanks to all who have spared a thought or a prayer recently for our car situation… Freddie, our beautiful little 2001 Corsa has finally given up on life, it seems – or at least the mechanic has made it quite clear that he’s costing much more to keep fixing than he’s now worth (and sending messages that say if we scrap him now we’ll get £65 for him…). More or less every month for the past year – and every week for the past couple of months – we’ve been back at the mechanic’s place for another fix; usually something different each time. It was getting a bit silly, and for some time we’d asked ourselves whether we can realistically afford to keep spending money on fixing different car-problems each month. We were looking forward to several long-ish journeys over the next couple of months and weren’t sure that Freddie would manage even the first of them – so we prayed for a solution.

Then two weeks ago (Monday 12th) I broke down in Upper Rissington and was rescued by a very helpful breakdown recovery man who jump-started the battery and told me to blame the cold weather… The following day on the way back from Northleach lots of smoke started coming out of the engine, so another breakdown recovery man came to my aid. He said various strange-sounding things and I wasn’t quite sure that he was entirely sober (including “well, it’s 50/50 whether you’ll blow up on the way back to the mechanic but I’d say give it a shot! After all, there’s a 35% chance that any vehicle could blow up on any journey at any time!”), but that’s beside the point. Either way, in the end Freddie made it back to the mechanic’s workshop, and there he stayed for several days, and Ben continued to cycle the 20 miles each day to get to work…..

While I was waiting on that sunny Tuesday for the breakdown bloke to arrive, I got a text from a friend requesting prayer for something, and asking how I am. I said (after of course agreeing to pray!) that I’m sitting in the sunny Cotswolds listening to birdsong and waiting for breakdown recovery… Again… He then said he’s recently got himself a different car and wondered if we want to use his old one for a while! So that Friday, ten days ago, we acquired a gorgeous silver Peugeot 206 convertible!!! The owner has put us as named drivers on his insurance and said we can try it out for three months, and “if it lasts that long” can hold on to it…! I’m told that she was christened Ermintrude, so we call her Minty. She’s absolutely beautiful. (She even has a wine-compartment between the back seats!! Haven’t used that yet…..) We never thought that we’d drive such a fabulous car as this. She’s done 230,000 miles over 15 years but we feel very confident and safe – she doesn’t make any of the strange noises or smells that Freddie does/did! We haven’t yet scrapped Freddie but will run him gently and occasionally until the MOT runs out next month. A slow goodbye. And a huge answer to prayer – just baffling really! I can’t count the number of times we’ve laughed and marvelled at the fact that we’re driving such a snazzy vehicle. We even drove the last 45 mins into Falmouth with the roof down – it was surreal!

In other news, the big art exhibition seems to be going well – I know I’ve sold at least one painting, and have also had people sign up to both the Canvas Stretching course (a one-off session) and the acrylic painting classes which will hopefully start after Easter. I’m due to take down the paintings this Saturday, so looking forward to trying to find space for them all, once again, in our little Maisonette! There’s a possibility of storing a few of them on the office walls at work, so we’ll see if that happens. A few are also on display in Tarbosh Cafe in Gloucester city centre, alongside 90 pieces of my homemade jewellery, which I believe is selling well!

Not much more to report, really – except for the exciting upcoming weekend-trips next month: to Darlington on 6th-8th April to visit my lovely grandparents; then to Návsí in the Czech Republic 12th-18th April to visit some wonderful friends who have recently had a baby; then to Goodwick in Pembrokeshire 27th-29th April to visit some other friends (our former Greek and Church History lecturer and his wife) – a full-on month! We are very blessed to have the time and resources to be able to go and visit such wonderful people.

That’s all from us – but do keep in touch! Thanks again for your thoughts, messages and prayers 🙂

Have a blessed Easter,

Ben and Kat

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