Helen and I have been truly humbled by the many messages of love and support that we have received over these days of her illness, from Belfast, Dublin, Donegal, Isle of Man, Swanage, London, Bristol, Glasgow, Salisbury, Cardiff and quite a few points in between.

Neighbours, friends, family, parishioners, choir, children and adults; friends old and new; some we have known for years, some we have never met.  We are overwhelmed and will not forget your kindness, your prayers and good wishes.  Thank you so much!

Life is a little strange just at the moment, and we know that patience and a good dose of common sense around what Helen tries to take on just now is about the height of what we should be thinking about.  We are also fully aware that things could be a great deal worse.  Whatever it is that has triggered the condition Helen is suffering from, we are assured that it will go, but it is going to take time.  In the meantime life carries on.

The fallow ground of the vegetable patch is now back in production with peas, potatoes, lettuce and broad beans all in; the soft fruit was pruned anyway, so now we shall be harvesting it for one more season; I have even put in a few sweet peas.  Hopefully they will be an encouragement to Helen as they gradually come on.  If we get to move in September, as we hope, then the raspberries will need to be pruned by someone else.  I can leave instructions…. It is worth doing….

Our blackcurrants are an old variety; the bushes, not huge croppers but otherwise big, grow to head height and form a dense mass of foliage by mid-summer.  In a bigger garden I would give them another 18 inches spacing; they really are too close to each other, but it is not possible to adjust things now, and nothing can be done short of digging them all up and starting again.

Isn’t it true that we live with what we can’t change, for better or for worse?  But we seek to do what is right in situations where we can alter things, to the benefit of the common good, at the same time as trying to be as independent, as in control and as self-sufficient as possible.

The human race seems to be constantly weighing up and identifying these kinds of dilemmas.  However, when one is on the receiving end of kindness the world looks a whole lot rosier place, and one is a great deal more conscious of grace than being confounded by problems.