The year before we retired, and moved to the Côte d’Azur, we won the prize for the best Camp Site managers. How was the decision made? It was determined by how many of your holiday-makers rebooked with Haven. We had many customers who became friends and followed us from site to site. Some of them still keep in touch with me.
I think that in our Churches, other places of worship, organisations and clubs, the same criterion exists. Newcomers fall into three categories. A few people never return. Some people still attend, but don’t really want to be involved or join in. Luckily, there are those folk who become regular members and are a great asset because of the amount they contribute.
How did he meet Diane—a Bridgwater lass? Well— after leaving the Grammar School there—Diane came to Bristol to train as a nurse at the BRI. However, most of her career took place at Frenchay Hospital where she became a ward Sister. Whilst at the BRI, one of her patients happened to be a friend of Derek’s and he arranged a ‘blind date’ for the pair of them—another case of love at first sight! They were married in 1964 and two more “Ds” arrived! Donna and Deborah have since given them the joy of three grandchildren.
Diane often came to ‘St John the Baptist’ with her mother Olive. When Olive died Derek came With Diane. An Alpha Course followed and in 2010 Derek was confirmed. Like me they appreciate the friendly family atmosphere we share. One post has quickly followed another—they work together as Sidespeople. With their smiling faces and approachable manner, they are well Suited to this task of welcoming people as they arrive for services. They are also joint Secretary and verger for the Churchyard. This is a job needing compassion and understanding so they ’fit the bill’ again. Derek assists at Communion and has recently become a Server. He’s also on the Fabric Committee which involves many tasks—such as chopping down trees.
It is not only the big things that count—the zimmer frame of the lady I bring to Church wouldn’t fit into the boot of my car. What happened? Diane found one in their garage, so they brought it to Church and Derek brings it out when we arrive and helps Iris into Church.
However it’s not a case of all work and no play. They are widely travelled—their best holiday being a month in Australia visiting extended family. They enjoy good food! Diane especially likes brown shrimps, so I hope to bring some back for her when I go to France next. Derek prefers a roast beef dinner. Talking of food—they are loyal members of my Lunch Club. After our Christmas Lunch at Tortworth Court for the last two years, they have stayed overnight. Who says that romance is dead? How lovely it would be if everyone used their talents for the good of others!
THANK YOU Derek and Diane!
What do we enjoy eating in late Spring Time? Probably less stews and casseroles but nevertheless something tasty. Why not stuff some large field mushrooms? In the supermarkets you can buy 3 or 4 for £1. Clean them by brushing them—never use water as they are very absorbent. I often buy these large mushrooms in preference to button mushrooms as they have more flavour.
Slice some finely—fry in half butter and half oil until golden and scatter them over scrambled eggs or cheese on toast. The latter is now very popular in French Basseries. Instead of “Croque Monsieur” advertised in the windows, it says “ Le Welsh” or sometimes “Le Welch”. It differs from our version as they often add beer to a thick cheese sauce and pour it over the toast.
To make stuffed mushrooms pre-cook the mushrooms while you make the stuffing. Just sprinkle them with a little olive oil and cook gently. For the stuffing use some good quality sausages which you skin and mash with a fork. Add some very finely sliced shallots and your favourite herbs. I would add some garlic, but some of you may prefer chilli (That’s my worst thing) Now fill the cavities in your mushrooms. Don’t pack it in too firmly. Scatter the top with breadcrumbs, dot with butter and cook gently in your oven. Watch carefully as you may need to protect them with foil. Usually they take about 20 minutes. They make a good starter with toast fingers. As a main meal I would add a cheese sauce, chips or rice and perhaps some baked beans! Enjoy!
My thought for May: Try something new. If your dreams are to come true - you must wake up!