Shallowford House Staffordshire January 2010

Shallowford House, Stone, Staffordshire.

Wednesday 30th Dec. ’09 – Sat. 2nd Jan. ’10

Brenda’s Report

Guests started to arrive early on the Wednesday – they were so keen to join us, we must be doing something right!!

So, how did it go? The house had been closed over Christmas, so it took some time to warm up. We did try, with extra fires in the bedrooms, but it was Winter – minus two degrees and still dropping – so with a good British stiff upper lip we kept going! We enjoyed tea and lovely cakes around the fire in the sitting room at 16:00 hours, and new guests joined in as if they had all been there before – which for a leader is wonderful to see!

We had our first meal together and now the holiday had really started. The food we had was wonderful and makes a change from having to cook and wash up afterwards! Then we all came together and had a time of getting to know you with a football, we looked at the programme and Howard led the Epilogue – thank you!

The last day of the year we all tucked into a cooked breakfast before we had the Thought for the Day which Pauline W. took, then with maps and packed lunches in hand, most of us headed out to Bridgemere Garden World for the rest of the day. Once we got back to the house, there were cups of tea and cake, and then Patricia took the Calligraphy class which once again turned out to be very popular, and many thanks to Patricia for her skill and enthusiasm. There was time afterwards for everyone to dress up for our candlelit dinner. The Dining Room looked lovely, lit up with candles and there were Christmas crackers on the tables. The food was excellent, and our thanks to Shallowford for the glass of wine. Tea and coffee were served in the hall before we started our entertainment, which was a bit of everything and a good laugh was had when we tried to do some dancing. Soon it was Midnight, and the end of yet another year. Where does the time go?! We saw the New Year in to the sound of Big Ben in the background and a drink and home-made mince pies (thank you Brenda! SF) and singing Auld Lang Syne.

New Year’s Day and how wonderful it is to start as we plan to continue with our Lord and Saviour and Communion which Stephen helped me do. We continued with praise and worship and at the end we sang the Blessing to everyone before we found our beds.

We had an extra half hour in bed which I think most of us needed and yet again a cooked breakfast. Our Thought for the Day was taken by Patricia and gave us something to think about for the year ahead. Her Reading was Colossians 3:1-14, and her subject was “What are you dressed in?” I will try to explain! We need to get rid of our anger, bad language, do not lie to one another etc., and put on tender mercies, kindness, meekness and longsuffering – to mention just a few. See Col 3 vs 8 and 12 – what promises, and many thanks to Patricia.

The next part of the day we headed out to Cannock Chase to walk off some of the food we had eaten and enjoyed so much. Stewart was in charge of this. He went off with, I think, about 16 people and came back with the same number. The remarks I heard were, “it was cold but a first class walk”. It was soon time to get back for our cups of tea around the fire and to welcome two wonderful friends to the House – yes it was Bryan Conway and his wife Julie. They joined us for dinner and our entertainment. Well we still had more to do before that as Stephen led an Art Workshop and as you can see from our Website we are privileged to have such talented people in CSF who help us in this way. The work I saw was excellent – well done and thank you.

Our evening meal was again excellent, and after our entertainment with brilliant contributions from many of the guests, Bryan led the Epilogue before heading home on some very icy roads.

Our last morning together – and another lovely cooked breakfast before our diets start to kick in!! I led the last Thought for the Day – I had had some thoughts for this, but Bryan beat me to it! So in the end I shared from Habakkuk 2 v. 2 about “writing your vision down”, and “how Christ sees us”.

So we came to the end of our Mid-Week break with the New Year as well! Many thanks to everyone who help run this short time away and to make it such a success.

We look forward to seeing you again at our next break at Easter, and welcome any new people who would like to join us. Brenda.

(Many thanks to Brenda for her report! SF)

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