I would like to send my prayers and thoughts for a most blessed and meaningful Christmas to all who read my blog. Lynn is putting the finishing touches to the 'stockings' for the girls and we are all going across the road to support the Anglican Church's Christingle service later this afternoon. Our dear brother and sister Jonathan and Becky from Portsmouth introduced us to a new song, the first line of which reads: 'Joy has dawned upon the world, promised from creation'. Lydia sang (and played) this song as a solo at our 'Carols by Candlelight' service on Sunday evening and I took 'Promise' as the theme for the short message I gave. So many promises are made, and broken. However, God will never break His promise. At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promise God had made to mankind at the dawn of creation - His Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who came among us to vanquish the sin and death that had entered the world with Adam and Eve. Of course, the promise doesn't stop there! God also promises us eternal life, with Him our creator, but it is a 'gift' that we need to accept. God will not force it upon us. If you are still reading, then I would urge you to consider your position in regards to eternity. Have you accepted this wonderful gift that God promised us from creation?
All of a sudden after weeks of slow painstaking work, the simple thing like the erection of a shed and fence has transformed our mess of a garden into something resembling civilisation! I resisted the temptation to buy any more building material in order to give myself an enforced rest over the Christmas period. Just as well, there is plenty to do with church activities over the next week.
Today we tried out out newly furbished van 'Phoebus' with a picnic at Bantham Sands. Bacon butties and tea all round were successfully prepared and consumed before we had a pleasant walk on the sands watching the surfers enjoying the blustery conditions. How they survive in the sea on a cold December day I don't know! We were in good company parked alongside all the surf dudes in their VW vans!
It has been a while since I talked about the 'wall'. Unfortunately we had to borrow more money to pay the final bill. As we cannot get a mortgage advance for 6 months (new rules!) we had to take a personal loan - very expensive. We are feeling the squeeze a bit but are enjoying God's wonderful grace in supplying our every need. As you can see from this pictures, the tidy-up work is progressing slowly, but is keeping me fit!
We had a great extended weekend in Portsmouth this weekend. The main reason for our visit was for me to attend the 'Top Table' dinner for Billy Monaghan, an old friend and colleague on the occasion of him leaving the RM Band Service after 33 years service. We here looked after for the weekend by Hannah and Dan and it was lovely to share some time with them and do a bit of 'jamming' with Dan; although I think it was a bit stressful for Julia (see picture). We also saw our Dan and Crystal and it was again lovely to catch up with them. We visited Malcolm and Dorothy for coffee, complete with nibbles - thank you both. On Saturday evening Lynn and I were invited to the Crossley home to celebrate a real American 'Thanksgiving'. It was a wonderful evening and we were delighted to meet up with Ian's and Cindy's sons Nathan and Tim, and Nathan's new wife Naomi. We all had to share some things that we are thankful to God for. On Monday morning Lydia and I took a short tour of the Royal Marines School of Music. I think Lydia was quite impressed.
I retired from the Royal Marines Band Service in 2007 having served for 33 years as a musician, eventually becoming a Director of Music and running my own band. After retirement, I took my family sailing in the Philippines with a view to sailing back to the UK via Australia. However, for many reasons our plans changed and after 9 years living in Dartmouth we have now moved to Totnes.I am married to Lynn and we have four children. Daniel and his wife Sara live in Portsmouth; Hannah is married to another Dan and they live with our grandchildren Sophia, Isaac & Elijah in Topsham. Lydia is currently studying in Lancaster and Julia is Studying Art at Totnes, due to attend University at Falmouth in 2016. I teach music in the local school and work part time for the Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority, driving the yacht taxi. Between this, directing the local orchestra, various musical performances, involved with the local church and helping train the local Ten Tors team, life can be very busy.