By Martin Gibson

More changes to the service rota previously published

With Newport, (the home of Rev Steve Oram) being in Tier 4 and Olveston in Tier 3, it has been agreed that it is unsafe for Steve to visit St Mary’s for the foreseeable future. This turns the ministry rota, agreed only yesterday,(21st Dec) on its head. Rev Ann Lloyd has to isolate due to family health reasons and similarly, lay reader Janet McBride. This reduces the team available to conduct services at St Mary’s, to Davids Moss & Bone, with assistance from Paul Harrod.

The Christmas Day service WILL take place led by Rev David Bone.

On the assumption that churches are still open in the New Year, the Sunday 3rd January service will be taken by Rev David Moss. There may be a 10am Holy Communion service on Wednesday 6th January – more information later. The Archdeacon’s visit scheduled for 10th January has been cancelled, but the Venerable Neil Warwick will send us an online video sermon – more details nearer the time.

The first Sunday service after Lockdown 2, last Sunday 20th, saw 47 people attending. A record number this year.

A fine Christmas tree has appeared on The Green in Olveston. At the foot of the tree is a box with cards upon which messages can be written and posted on the tree. I particularly liked “I love you Dad”. Thanks to Saffia and Matthew Bullock of Sheepcombe, Tockington, and Imogen Roberts.

The drivers amongst you will have spotted that the radar speed sign outside the parish hall was activated a few days ago. The first week it was in place (but not flashing), it was collecting data about passing traffic.

This revealed that the average number of vehicles travelling daily from Olveston to Tockington was 1,500; the number of vehicles exceeding the 30mph speed limit was 49%. The highest recorded speed of a vehicle was 65mph. Does anyone still think that more speed restrictions are not needed?

Very sad to report that Thai Basil restaurant in the High Street, Thornbury is closing its doors for good at the end of this month. Becky and Jason have relied on their takeway business in recent months but there is no financial substitute for table service. The pandemic has claimed yet another much admired (and needed) local partnership.

On Saturday last, in the morning, members of St Mary’s choir sang carols in Dawe’s Yard opposite the Village Stores. Over £170 was contributed by generous villagers. Thank you all.

The Parish Council had a Christmas card specially commissioned for those people in the community who were especially helpful during the year and in Lockdown 1 in particular, to their neighbours. The front picture was of the Christmas tree which graced the High Altar of St Mary’s last year. Thanks due to Les Harper. A box of chocolates went with the card to some 60 village volunteers and businesses. In case things deteriorate during 2021 everyone should know that helpers are always at hand, whatever the need. Just ask a church member or a parish councillor, they can guide you to the right place.

Finally, your Christmas smile:

A 90 year old lady was interviewed on Radio Bristol recently about her remarkable life. In passing she was asked about her husbands – all four of them.

She replied “The first one was a banker, then there was a circus ring master, number three was a priest and the last one a funeral undertaker.”

“Good heavens” said the interviewer “How on earth did you choose them?”

“Well” she replied “It was number one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.”