Quite a lot.
On Monday, I drove in my Dacia Sandero ( Black 2014) into Gloucester to prepare lunch with my fellow Christians at the Salvation Army Citadel at the top of Eastgate Street. The drive was uneventful: I noticed the winter woods were greening up a little at floor level, and the water-meadows bordering the Severn were flooded with snow-melt.
I spent the previous day with the adorable Finley, my grandson, who is one year-old, and was sick. Today, he is better.
The snows of the previous Thursday and Friday had rendered Ray and I housebound. But as we'd heeded the warnings and shopped, we were warm and comfortable.
Children, and Carol checked up on us. We are fine. Thank you.
There were errands to run. Letter for a church friend left on the front table in the narthex. Reminder of the Cell meeting on Thursday. A letter to deliver to the Principal of the local Secondary School ( 'Principal': horrible American affectation. I was proud to be a Head Teacher, I guess now the school is planning to become an Academy, he feels the need to disassociate from teaching. In the word of Trump, Sad. )This letter is from the Labour Party, Newent Branch which I chair. We are advising him to think again. Somebody needs too. I ended up delegating this task to Ray, to save time.
Consequently, I was early to the Army and chopped carrots. Cottage pie today. Usually, frozen carrots are employed, but the supermarket was out of them. And other things too, due to the snow - but we managed. I progressed to potatoes, then slicing and wrapping cake.
Others were working on mince, onions, and sandwiches for the evening soup run.
Before the opening of the Drop-in Lunch at 12:00pm, I check that "my" tea table is fully supplied and then I join the other helpers for a sandwich lunch.
This is a highlight of the week. I get to know the homeless, the jobless and that not-coping. Hearing their stories means I can tell them, and I do, when comfortable people, innocent (or not) in their ignorance, defame them. Some people are shocked, and many hearts open with compassion. Those that don't, have trouble coming, on the day when THEIR story turns to tragedy. How can those without love, receive it in turn?
After Army duty, I head north to Droitwich to spend a few hours with another beautiful boy, Frankie. He's fit and well, I'm here to allow his mum and dad to grab a break.
Home by six. I have a meeting later which I am not going to. My apologies were made in advance and my contribution emailed in.
A quiet morning and afternoon. My remaining three grandchildren are arriving after school for supper and a sleepover. Rosie is ten now, and excited about moving on to High School. Abigail, aged six, informs me that she loves everyone in the world more than she loves my iPad, but might she have it now please? All questions about her day are stonewalled, but that's nothing new. Sam and Ray play "marbles on the stairs" an activity three year-old needs and loves. This, I suspect is one of the games reserved for grandparents' homes!
The sleepover and breakfast is enjoyably routine. The young ones go to sleep without fuss, breakfast and dressing go off without incident, and I am off again, this time to Gloucester City Mission, to serve a meal to the same friends I saw on Monday.
There are some new faces. One guy was made redundant from Carillion on 24 January, and evicted on 27th. Another, elderly, vulnerable, was evicted the day after his partner died. I wonder: what sort of country have we become?
Fortunately, both were homeless for a very short time, not brilliant accommodation, but rooves over their heads in life-threateningly cold weather.
Ever tried too hard at something? Lesson for the day. Stay chilled. I lead a Parish Evangelisation Cell Group. I spent days preparing the worship, and presented the group with a song I loved, and which totally bombed. I am asking serious questions about why the group has dwindled from 15 to 5. Even the co-leader was a no-show this time!
I felt completely humbled. Then I listened what the group were saying. They picked the song for next time and I am delegating the co-leader to introduce it. Two birds killed with one stone. :)
Ray has headed off to Leipzig for the EUEFA Cup qualifier. I suspect Leipzig are playing, but I regret to say, I forgot to ask! He's a courier for ISG, and will return the tapes of the game to Frankie's father in Coventry, who will edit them.
So a cosy evening in. Steak and potatoes for supper and an early night. I watch an awful film about an alien invasion, and end up asking myself why. I loathe battle scenes. Has anyone else noticed how many more of them there are in films these days?
I got up early to go pray with a friend who is unwell. I think she was comforted. Now the important bit begins, walking with her through whatever comes next.
I parked in town, and set about buying flowers for Mother's Day. My mother, Trudy Pitt, much loved, much missed, died in 2002. I will place them at the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, for ALL mothers, everywhere, every time.
I wandered through the Newent Charity Shops in search of a spending fix. I am tempted by an old fashioned meat mincer, a Style dress pattern, an oval pie dish and a photo frame. I bought nothing.
I did give in to a bottle of white wine and a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
Ray returns from Leipzig. We watch two episodes of Portello's Railway Journeys, then I take a bath and go to bed.
God Bless You All, Every One!