Our first church minibus outing, last Friday, went very well – even if we did nearly run out of fuel at one point! There were 14 of us in total and we all enjoyed ourselves. We went to St Cross almshouse, a 12th century foundation on the outskirts of Winchester. It is really beautiful there – I have just tried scanning in a picture but unfortunately with no success, their website is www.stcross.f2s.com/ – the buildings and garden are lovely, and it still provides a home to 13 old (and single) men of limited means. It was the setting for Anthony Trollope’s book The Warden (although the BBC adaptation wasn’t filmed there). One of the resident old men gave us a guided tour, and we had picnic in the grounds. We were all in the gift shop cum ticket office receiving our “Wayfarer’s dole” of a cube of bread and small beaker of beer (a symbol of the hospitality they traditionally provided to travellers), when the duck walked in and demanded bread (and then joined us for our picnic)! We went into Winchester city centre for an hour in the afternoon, some visiting the Cathedral, some shopping. We are hoping to run a monthly outing, with family friendly ones in the summer holidays and ones more geared to older people for the rest of the year. The aim is to strengthen our sense of community within the church, and to provide fun days out for those who don’t get out much.
So that was Friday. Saturday I painted the shower room (ceiling, walls, skirting board but not door as that was in good condition) – the paint I chose for the walls was a similar shade of green to what was there before, but it does look brighter, cleaner and neater (especially without the liberal coating of mould). Yesterday afternoon I finally declared the room open for action again, a declaration which met with a complete lack of enthusiasm from my father-in-law who has loved having an excuse for not washing (he can’t get in and out of the bath, he can get in and out of the shower easily but shows a schoolboy-like dislike of soap and water prefering to douse himself with deodorant!). I finished the painting just in time to get myself cleaned up and dressed to go out for dinner with Simon and the on to the theatre to see Verdi’s Aida. We had to rush dinner a little but we had a nice evening. I did doze off in the last act of the opera, though!