Another update 

Hello! Hope you’re enjoying the warmer weather as much as we are.

A few highlights from the past couple of months – 

At the end of March we visited Falmouth for a fantastic few days’ break in a flat belonging to friends of ours. Then in April we were all over the place! We visited Darlington for a long-weekend with my wonderful grandparents. We visited friends in the Czech Republic, in Silesia (near the borders with Poland and Slovakia – so we spent some time in Poland too, and for a while on one of our hill-walks we were technically on Slovak land as well…), which was a really lovely week, and quite emotional seeing our friends there after six years and meeting their new baby. We visited Goodwick in Pembrokeshire, for a refreshing beach-and-hills weekend with friends from Redcliffe. And my parents came to visit Gloucestershire for a weekend, staying on a nearby caravan site beside a beautiful canal, so we had a great time with them.

Of course we probably couldn’t have done any of these things if it wasn’t for our amazing new car, Minty. After the dramatic death of our lovely 2001 Corsa, Freddie, we were blessed with not only a functional vehicle, but THE BEST CAR IN THE WORLD. It’s a convertible (!!!), so we’re having a tremendous amount of fun with the roof down whenever it’s dry. It has red leather seats and a wine bottle compartment. The front seats can recline to the extent that they’re almost flat and can be easily slept in. We even found, after joking that it’s a Bond-car, an eject seat lever!! (It doesn’t quite project us through the roof, but certainly makes us jump!) 

We are discovering Minty’s personality over time – for example, we now know that the indicators WILL usually work so long as the lights are on – and we keep some wire in the boot just in case the exhaust pipe falls off… Mike, our mechanic, says he’ll get around to fixing the cracking noise that the door makes, and possibly some of the squeaking and creaking too (suspension? And brakes) alongside other tweaks… We absolutely adore this car, and have made use of many opportunities to take friends and relatives for a drive with the roof down! And we’re immensely thankful to Clive, who has owned Minty from new (fifteen years) and managed to keep her running for over 125,000 miles so far. What a trouper!

Jobs are going well for us both. In Ben’s case, his former manager is returning, and there are now enough trained staff that it’s possible for Ben to move on at some point this year, if he can decide what he wants to do! In my case, my bosses have moved on (“organisational reshuffle”), so we’ll see what happens when a new head of department is recruited in a few months’ time. I’m also making the most of the last year of the conveniently-located Manor office, before we all have to move to Cheltenham next year (at which point I may have to change jobs due to transport issues) – and there are lots of little things going on in the communities where I work, which is good.

In our church, we have a wonderful new vicar who started two months ago, who has a passion for prayer and discipleship. He’s been ambitiously and determinedly introducing different styles of prayer in various contexts – we love it! We’ve very much enjoyed getting to know him and his wife over the past couple of months, and look forward to seeing what God does over the next year and beyond in the church. Exciting!

In other news, the art courses didn’t end up happening (yet), but I’m now offering one-off courses and workshops for which there has been a great deal of interest. I’m also thoroughly enjoying supporting other artists to get some of their designs printed on greetings cards, which is going very well so far – see 🙂

Ben has learnt to play Clare de Lune on the piano, and it’s been absolutely beautiful to listen to his practicing over the past few months. I hope that at some point soon we can move house so that he can have his real piano to play on rather than the keyboard… We’ll see! (And I’m still playing the harp, but still not very well – though Ben seems able to pick it up and play it so beautifully with no effort or practice whatsoever! He has to sit on the wrong side of the harp and play it ‘backwards’, as this helps the strings make sense to a pianist brain, apparently. I find it very inspiring, but also a little frustrating that it comes so easily and naturally to him because of his musical background, in comparison to my very basic playing after many hours of practice!)

Recently I’ve discovered what a wonderful experience it is to process life’s ponderings in the form of poetry. I never knew how liberating it would feel to write poems (if I can call them that!) and give voice to the things that bubble around in my head, in a wide range of styles. So in March-April I wrote 64 poems, which are now available in book form from Amazon, under the title “Prayer and Triviality”. Do give it a read and let me know what you think!

Have a wonderful Spring – enjoy the sunshine! 🙂
Ben and Kat

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