By Martin Gibson

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting hot. Well, perhaps not the goose but the debate over how our Christmas services will be managed certainly is. Some other ideas for Yuletide are listed below.

First of all, no one knows what will happen after lockdown ends. It seems highly likely that after lockdown there will be further restrictions put in place. How these might affect worship just isn’t known. Almost certainly, Christingle, the Carol Service and Midnight Mass cannot happen, too many people in one place. If, church services in general are permitted to restart, then Holy Communion on Christmas Day, probably at 10am, is the most likely service to take place.

The Worship Committee are planning a crib in the porch of the church and a “Comfort and Joy” prayer booklet based around carols may well be issued. In addition plans are afoot to let people bring their own Christmas cards into church, provided access is permitted.

We all welcome efforts to reduce climate change and the Government has just announced that no purely petrol or diesel driven cars can be sold after 2030. But let’s think this through. No more petrol/diesel sales means no more fuel duty – a massive tax earner. How can Government replace the lost tax? Electricity can’t be taxed, it would impact especially badly on poorer families. The latest rumour is a road mileage charge. Pay as you go. All very well, but big cars would pay the same as smaller, more economical ones. For a balanced view on climate change it is always worth looking online at “NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT”.

We tend to think that the parish of Olveston is full of happy families and in fact this is mainly the case. There are, however, at least four cases of domestic abuse which are ongoing and being monitored by South Glos Council’s specialist team. Pressures on relationships tend to increase when couples are forced to stay home, as in lockdown. Add to this a traditional 2 week break over Christmas and it’s easy to see just how matters can deteriorate. All of us must be vigilant and if we have suspicions that someone is being abused, child or adult, it is our duty to report it. Our safeguarding officer is Debbie Harries 07 87055 7961.

The Parish Council has three childrens’ play areas it manages, Vicarage Lane, behind the Parish Hall and Old Down, at the top of Old Down Hill. The equipment in each is examined monthly for safety reasons. The Council is well aware that the Old Down play area desperately needs refurbishing and has now joined with local parents to raise money to accomplish this. It may cost as much as £30,000 so a professional fund raiser has been engaged.

Humour:

Two dogs and a cat arrive at the Pearly Gates and are greeted by St Peter who is sitting in a magnificent fur lined gold chair.

“Why do you think you should be admitted to heaven?” He asks. The first dog, a St Bernard, replies “I’ve rescued 6 humans from avalanches so I’m their best friend.”

The second dog, a working collie, answered the same question “I have worked on a farm all my life, herding sheep and keeping my master company. I must deserve entry to heaven.”

St Peter lets them both in and then turns to the cat and asks again “Why should I let you in to heaven?”

“Well, actually” replies the cat “You are sitting in my chair.”