Sunday, December 9, 2018

St Nicholas

Image result for picture of st nicholas

9th Dec 2018

We could hear the drums before we left the car park. Following the noise we found huge crowds gathered in the square, all there to celebrate the Feast of St Nicholas. A large man dressed as St Nicholas in red robes with a mitre on his head and a crozier in his hand, sat in a makeshift, decorated carriage waving gently to all who passed by.

Children from many of the schools around Canterbury were there dressed up in costumes such as bishops and angels and carrying placards with encouraging words on or  lanterns . Such a colourful sight. Some of them were part of the music team, giving renditions of Little Donkey and O Little Town of Bethlehem among others. 

This was yesterday afternoon and I was with my daughter and four grandaughters. The little one's looked this way and that , dizzy with the spectacle. 

After ten minutes or so the procession started with us taking a middle position in the group, musicians  in front and behind.   I was impressed as we walked through the city that the streets were lined with onlookers cheering and waving. 

Slowly we made our way to the Cathedral, stopping for a while outside to gather the people together. 
The singing and drumming continued as we drifted in . We managed to find seating near the front and settled down as we waited for the schools to take their places. 
After Carols, prayers, readings and a sermon, we ended the afternoon drinking hot chocolate ( handed out freely) in the Cathedral grounds. 

I add my post from last year. 

6th Dec 2017

Aren't the days moving swiftly through December ??? We'll be in January before we know it and Christmas will be just another one of the many that we've celebrated over the years.

I want to share two blogs with you. I hope you take the time to look at them as I think they are wonderful. They are by two of my daughters, one of whom says that I am biased. Well, of course I am, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there is some great  content there.

They write very differently ... well, you will see:


I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know what you think. Or, better still, leave a comment on their blogs.

Now, I'd like to tell you another story about a homeless man. The weather has been bitter these last couple of weeks, the nights being particularly icy. It was on one such night , last week, when the temperature was below 6 degrees c that a homeless man died on the streets in Birmingham . So, so sad...

But that is not my story. My story starts last Saturday morning in Oxford.

We turned up early for our grandaughter's confirmation at the Oratory, and,  passing a man sat at the gate, walked through to the big doors at the entrance where we got talking to a very jolly chap who was waiting to talk to the priest. It turned out he was going to be getting married later that day. I left my husband talking to him while I went into the church.
When I came out hubby was with the man at the gate chatting away.

I felt a bit awkward as I always do with homeless people . You know, not quite knowing what to do.
Anyway I was dragged into the  conversation which was about homeless shelters. This tall man, who was standing now, his long, tangled, matted hair falling over his shoulders ( a Billy Connolly look alike),  told us that they charged for them and he didn't usually have the money to stay in one . Well, I thought, what homeless person would, living hand to mouth on the road and all that.

Then he and my husband proceeded to tell me of the good fortune which befell him while I was in the church. How the chap getting married that day had asked him what size shoes he wore - unfortunately his feet were two sizes too big -and then what size waist he was. Ahh , better luck there.  And what about corduroy, did he like brown corduroy. Of course he did . Reaching in his holdall bag,  the  "soon to be married" took out a smart pair of trousers and feeling in the pocket found a ten pound note. "It's your lucky day," he said beaming and handing him both the trousers and the money.
As the man of the road told  me this tale , he also had a huge smile on his face.
At this point I took his hand in mine to see how cold he was. He was cold...

"Give him my gloves,"  said my husband . He had let me borrow his gloves earlier . I feel the cold more than he does.
And of course your man  was delighted to get the gloves too.

He wasn't there when we came out after the service and I just hope that he is still doing OK and that he will survive through the winter.


  1. It's very difficult, i work with a homeless ministry. We do as much as we can, and you and the man getting married did a fabulous thing.

    1. Thank you. It's just awful that people will be out in the cold tonight and every night. And these nights of Dec through to Feb the temperature regularly plummets to well below zero


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