By Martin Gibson.

Services: Sunday 9.30am Morning Prayer with Paul Harrod & Janet McBride. 6.00pm Holy Communion with Rev David Moss

The Annual Parish Council Meeting will take place in St Mary’s on Sunday 23rd May at 6pm. The TAR (Trustees Annual Report) and Agenda will be published here next Thursday but details are available to view in the church porch.

The Archdeacon, Neil Warwick, came to St Mary’s on Tuesday to meet with our churchwardens. Matters discussed were the ongoing absence of Rev Stephen Oram, the possibility of a curate being assigned to North Severnside Benefice; likewise a youth worker; what might happen to North & South Severnside when Rev Philip Rowe retires; and other matters. There was no doubt in the wardens minds that Neil is indeed a high flyer and will surely be appointed a Bishop in the near future.

Jennifer Bone, wife of our dearly beloved Rev David Bone, recently underwent surgery for a long standing back condition. We wish her a speedy recovery to good health.

Lots of local news unrelated to St Mary’s this week. First of all, the football club at Old Down created a ladies team just one year ago. And, believe it or not, on Sunday they beat their closest rivals, Cheltenham Town Ladies in the final match of the season to finish TOP of their league. Well done all you girls.

Twice a month (2nd and 4th Saturdays) there is a new Saturday market in Thornbury High Street. Last Saturday the weather was not at all favourable, cold, slightly wet and windy, so that didn’t help the 10 or so traders who laid out their wares for all to see. Sadly the numbers of people turning up to buy was minimal too. We remember the days of yore when a similar Saturday market was regularly held in Castle Street supported by dozens of stalls and hundreds of people. So one has to ask – was the Town Council decision to close the road to traffic a wise one?

The Parish Council manages three play areas, Vicarage Lane, Old Down and behind the Parish Hall in Tockington. Every month each one is inspected to make sure all the equipment is safe. The Parish Council then commissions RoSPA to annually carry out an independent inspection of each of the play areas . This year they reported very critically on the condition of the Old Down play area. As it happens the Council was already in the throws of refurbishing the area with brand new equipment, however, for safety’s sake, the play area has now been closed until the new equipment can be fitted. Anticipate it reopening in mid-August.

Cutting the grassy areas in the parish is shared by South Glos Council and Olveston Parish Council. Sth Glos recently announced that it would, in future, be only cutting some areas, once a year (July or August) in the interests of bio diversity, Some cynics might say it is a cloak for a cost cutting exercise. Nevertheless, we all need to recognize that we are in a climate emergency and the habitat of mammals, birds, plants and insects must be protected. There has to be a balance between preserving the countryside and maintaining the appearance of the villages. The parish council has now set up a sub-committee to work out how best to do this.

And finally:

I have decided to run a weekly Agony Uncle column. Here is my reply to the first letter I received:

Dear Miss K – I know how you must feel arriving at church and finding somebody else sitting in your pew, especially after having sat there for the last twelve years, but do you think attacking the poor woman with your umbrella was really the right thing to do? Now I know the Archdeacon’s wife shouldn’t be given special privileges when her husband is invited to preach at our church but I’m sure she didn’t purposely break one of the ten commandments by, as you put it, ‘coveting your seat’. And you dear, should also remember that another commandment is ‘Thou shalt not kill’, I do believe you came very close to breaking that one yourself, and if it wasn’t for the vicar you possibly would have done. By the way, how is his eye now, tell him I am praying that he’ll make a quick recovery and won’t need surgery. I don’t believe this situation will ever arise again but can I suggest that if in future, someone should inadvertently sit in your seat, you do as it says in the bible, ‘turn the other cheek’ and find somewhere else to sit. You can then pride yourself and glow with pleasure at your calm and giving nature.