As time in this crisis lengthens, it is inevitable that family tensions will grow. Being furloughed is one thing, but having actually lost your job is something totally else. Money short, debts mounting – all take their toll. As good Christians and good citizens we must all watch out for the signs of distress and know how to help, either directly (be careful) or by passing the information on to responsible bodies, like the church or the Council.

There is a growing expectation surrounding the lifting of “lockdown”. It seems probable that primary schools will be the first “public” places to open. A likely date is after the Whitsun half term holiday. Commerce and construction will follow next, but places where people mix in groups socially, such as restaurants and pubs, will be the last to open. Expect however, the mandatory use of face masks for at least 3 months after lockdown is lifted.

Everyone is out walking these fine days, so, little known footpaths are of especial interest. One of the most interesting trails begins in Lower Hazel before moving into Alveston Parish. Starting at “Quakers” on Hazel Lane, there is a choice of 2 directions. One could take the left fork which will, 15 minutes later, bring you out onto Strood Common, a beautiful area of common land graced by a massive stone sitting all on its own. Where did it come from and why is it there? Whilst still in the woods and before rising upwards, there is a fascinating archeological dig. Local historians have uncovered the remains of the kitchen and stables to a hunting lodge (yet to be located). Ancient maps of the area describe it as the ruins of a chapel, but in fact King William 2nd (Rufus) is known to have hunted in this area at the end of the 12th century and the pottery fragments and horseshoe nails discovered here affirm it as an adjunct to a hunting lodge.                                                                                                                                                                  The right hand fork is equally as interesting but before starting up this very old track, a visit into the Quaker graveyard behind Quakers is fascinating. The track itself is wide enough to allow farm carts to pass comfortably in opposite directions so it was obviously greatly used and was probably the main “road” from Sheepcombe farm to (first of all Alveston then) Gloucester. In the 16th & 17th centuries Sheepcombe Farm (off Washingpool Hill) was one of, if not the, richest farms for miles around as a result of England’s monopoly of the wool trade.

The most important questions of our time:                                                                                                     Why is it that you always find the item you’ve been looking for immediately after you’ve bought a replacement?                                                                                                                                                                       And why, in the 2nd World War, did Japanese Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

From a church magazine:                                                                                                                                                If you want to hear from God – come inside.                                                                                                                If you want to meet God – text him while you’re driving.