Hunger in the U.K ?

I was listening to Radio 4 this morning while trying to convince myself to get out of bed. It was an article about a Food Station in Salisbury, yes Salisbury UK! I listened to an educated woman  with two children saying that she hadn’t had a decent meal in 5 days as she gave her food to her children, and to give them a decent meal she had to rely on charity. She had only £10-15 a week for food. This is not the first report I have heard lately, a few weeks ago I heard of a centre which I think was in Glasgow, where a 5 year old sat on the window outside everyday for them to open so that she could eat. Another child brought his two brothers for food everyday. Their situation may have been somewhat different as their parents had a drug habit, but at least they could get help.

I know myself of a child who lives nearby who has special dietary needs, but gets leftover takeaways for breakfast or custard because her mother spends most of their money on alchohol and goes missing at night when she is found passed out on the pavement somewhere.

Whatever their situation ,hunger should not be a problem in this country. Two years ago I was there myself, unemployed though I applied for hundreds of jobs, and hardly any money for food. We often had a day when we only ate soup or less, or I went without a meal to feed my children.

I went to church every week ,but no one knew we were hungry, and I was far to proud to tell anyone. I praise God for his wonderful provision of a loving husband who now cares for us. I have been thinking of ways that I could alleviate this situation for even just one family. Of course I could donate to a charity, but as Churches, we must check that our families on very low incomes or single parent families,and children in our church organisations are receiving enough food. If you don’t like to ask, collect some groceries and leave them on a doorstep with a note saying it’s a gift from your Church.

Once when I was a Bible College student and had nothing for my family at Christmas, I came home to find two bags of groceries from the Salvation Army. It was the most wonderful present ever. These people are our neighbours and whether their problems are self made or because of the economic climate, no family should be without food. Jesus said that if we do it for them ,we do it for him.

Away with the midges.

Just had a week away, it was much needed and I had medical permission to go if I took things easy.

We had a beautiful Lodge beside Kielder Water, and walked and cycled gently, well as gently as I could,you do have to go uphill sometimes. Looked around Hexham and the small villages, shopped a bit and investigated the Roman ruins.

We came to the conclusion that the midges of Northumberland have a worse bite than those in Argyll, we live here in the midst of the Forestry Commission land surrounded by Lochs, and holidayed in more Forestry Commission land surrounded by Lakes, some man made, but it didn’t matter, it was the break that we needed.

We came home to a garden we didn’t recognise, mowed, strimmed and tidy, a spotless house, with things I’d been meaning to fix ,fixed! The washing I had left in the basket done and food in the fridge. All thanks to my in-laws who had been hen sitting.

I wonder if it will look like this when we let my  eldest son and family house sit while we are on our week at “Clan” in St. Andrews, I doubt it…..



Shake Rattle and Roll

Having spent 12 hours attached to a monitor at the local hospital this weekend, I was glad to get to Church, not because I desperately needed to hear the Rev. speak but because I was just so pleased to be able to go.
I woke up just after 3am on Saturday feeling mighty peculiar, so I found the blood pressure monitor and tip-toed of to the front room to check. Finding my blood pressure at boiling point and my pulse higher than a racing drivers I alerted the Rev. and we set of for A&E. Luckily ,despite being very rural we a G.P run unit and 2 hospital wards.
I was threatened with a transfer to a unit further away that could shock me back into sinus rhythm , I didn’t relish that much and had a quick chat with God, explaining that although I was quite prepared to go home (I honestly thought I was on my way out!) if that was where He wanted me, I did have quite a bit I still wanted to get done down here. He must have heard because very suddenly my heart resumed normal service, much to my relief.


The reason that I am recounting this is not to get sympathy but to illustrate that until you get something like this you don’t realise just how many in the congregation are coping with all kinds of illness. I was told that I was not allowed to services this morning ,but rather than stay at home and mull over the past few hours I decided that I would rather be with friends, and on the whole our worship doesn’t require a lot of physical effort.

No one expected me ,so I got into a bit of trouble with some of the ladies but I crept into a pew as the bell was ringing, I got very nasty looks from the Minister but he wasn’t in a position to say too much. After the service, at least 4 folk told me that they had the same thing, and one had survived far worse than me. I had a good laugh with some of my “Meet at the Manse” ladies and felt so good, I went to the next parish with the” boss”, who said, ” Be it on my own head…”.

After this service, another 6 folk told me of heart problems, some horrendous stuff, and I was given a lot of decent advice about taking things easy from a retired Minister. Had another good chat with the other members of the “M at the M” group, and felt recharged. I’m so glad I decided to go, that’s what the Body of Christ is for, mutual support and love. I could understand what others had been through and they found me more approachable and were able to share their own worries. Hopefully we all went home feeling that someone had listened.
I also got to chat to a potential new church member and support a friend who has a vision for an exciting production for Christmas to share with the wider community.

The worship which I would normally moan about to my better half seemed fresh, the hymns that weren’t the liveliest in the book sounded good, just because I could appreciate still being in a fit state to attend. It is never pleasant when God gives us a shake up, but there are great benefits to be had, and I must have needed to be shaken out of my complacency. All I can say is Thank you Lord but please don’t do it again , at least only if necessary!