Apart but still connected

We are living in unusual times at the moment when even going to Mass is not possible.  However, we are still very much a parish – thinking of each other, keeping each other in our prayers, looking out for each other – and whilst we can’t physically see each other at Our Lady Queen of Peace, we thought it would still be nice to “keep in touch” with one another.  So, each week a particular parish group will be invited to answer a few questions and share a bit about themselves. Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far – here’s the latest……

This week some members of our 6pm music group have taken part.  Thank you to everyone who sent in their answers.  Enjoy ………

Question 1: What are you most grateful for at the moment?

At the moment, I am making the most of NOT rushing around!  Because of lockdown, I am not constantly looking at the clock and putting pressures on myself to be somewhere at a certain time!  We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area and to be healthy that sometimes I have to remind myself of the tragic circumstances of the present time.  Like many others, I’ve been very grateful for the internet helping me to keep in touch and, in fact, am probably now putting pressure on myself to “get” to Zoom meetings on time!  It’s been so good to bring Mass from OLQP into the house and well done to Fr Kevin and Fr Inna for having the technical know how to sort it!

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What I am most grateful for is I have met a very nice young mum by the name of Sarah. Where we live we are a bit isolated and don’t get to see any of our neighbours so we never know what’s going on around us, but at the start of lock down this young lady knocked on our door and asked if we needed any help i.e. shopping etc. God sent an angel by the name of Sarah! We were so grateful for her help and have got to know her and her little family. 

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Being together as a family especially at this time of pandemic.

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I am most grateful for my family and the technology that helps us all connect, my husband for his company and also for the live streaming Masses.

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Question 2: What is your favourite hymn and why do you particularly like that one?

A hymn I especially love singing is ‘Christ, be our Light’ and, looking at the words as I write this, I see it’s very relevant at the moment.  The tune is so bright and cheerful and consoles us that the Light of Christ will ‘shine through the darkness’.

Another song I love – not in the hymn book – is ‘Thankful’ sung by Josh Groban. I find the words inspiring and they remind me to be aware of others and to be ‘thankful’ for my own life.

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My favourite hymn at the moment is

“Lord have mercy on us.

Come and heal our land.

Cleanse with Your fire, heal with Your touch.

Humbly we bow and call upon You now.

O Lord, have mercy on us.”

Anne very kindly reminded me of this hymn and I’m singing it all the time!  At least it’s keeping my voice in trim!

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“10,000 Reasons” for me and “Amazing Grace” for my husband as the lyrics are so meaningful and full of spirits.

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🎶’Lord, have mercy on us, come and heal our land.
Cleanse with your fire, heal with your touch.
Humbly we bow and call upon you now.
O, Lord, have mercy on us’.🎶

(Clearly a popular choice!)

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Question 3: If time and money were no obstacle, where in the world would you most love to have the chance to sing or play – perhaps it’s Wembley, the top of Everest, the Vatican? Your choice, no limits…. 

And why there (and would you let an audience in or would you prefer just to perform to yourself!)?

I love singing in the 6.00 pm Sunday Mass choir. The choir is a wonderful fellowship and I enjoy singing as a form of prayer.  I have had the opportunity of singing at Christchurch Priory and, because of the acoustics, it’s a fabulous feeling and sends a tingle down your spine!  So, the Vatican next stop would be wonderful – with the OLQP choir, of course!

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I would like to go to France, with our group, to sing Taize as the chants are so meaningful. (When we are singing during our Taize services) we don’t appreciate the words as we are concentrating on watching Anne.

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Sydney Opera House as the ambience is spectacular and of course I would like to have an audience but for my husband, no audience.

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I would like to sing “Lord have mercy on us…..” by candlelight at St Aldhelm’s Chapel in Worth Matravers as we did many years ago on a choir walk!!

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Thank you to everyone who contributed and shared this week – much appreciated.

 If you belong to a parish group that has been featured so far but you weren’t asked to contribute – sorry.

It simply means we didn’t have any way of contacting you.

We hope you still enjoyed everyone else’s contribution.

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Last week some of our families – children and parents alike – who take part in Children’s Liturgy contributed – thank you to everyone who sent in their answers.  If you are one of these families and have not yet had time to respond please don’t worry: send in your answers as soon as you can and we will add them here – we know you’re busy at the moment juggling home-schooling and everything.  Details of where to send your answers are in the email you received.

Enjoy everyone ………

Question 1: What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done since we’ve been in lockdown? 

Camping in the garden, drinking hot chocolate and taking time to look at the stars, we have taken to having #firepit fridays in our garden, listening to music and making up dance routines (including dad!); we’ve been decorating our daughter’s bedroom too.

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The most exciting thing I have done since we have been in lockdown has been to start jogging. I have never done it before and I am really enjoying it. I have been using the “NHS couch to 5K” podcast, it has been really helpful. I am extremely slow but it doesn’t matter!

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Having a swimming pool party with my brother and sister and eating ice cream. Learning to ride my bike without stabilisers.

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Learning to use the swing on my own.

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I made an Easter bunny paper maché basket

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The most exciting thing is spending lots of time out in the garden. We also got some caterpillars and then released them into the world as butterflies – they were painted ladies and were beautiful.

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Question 2: What do you miss most about not coming to church?

Singing, listening to Father Kevin and reading out prayers in church

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The thing I miss most about not going to church is seeing friends and taking my children to Children Liturgy. We have made a “praying table” at home and we have been saying our prayers there instead. The children have really enjoyed making their own crosses and decorations… I think it looks beautiful!.

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Doing the colouring, listening and seeing my friends

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I miss the church

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I miss seeing my friend from nursery & I like seeing baby Jesus

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We miss seeing Father Kevin and Father Inna but we see them online on Sundays.  We also miss our friends and learning about different things in the church. I really miss lighting a candle and seeing Mother Mary’s statue.

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Question 3: What’s your favourite type of fruit and why do you like it so much?

Raspberries and strawberries as they are so juicy and sweet; dry mango as a snack as it has a lovely flavour and texture.

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My favourite fruit is watermelon; it’s really sweet, juicy and refreshing!!

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Watermelon – I like it so much because it’s made from water which is really health and it’s red

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Raspberries and strawberries because they are tasty

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Strawberries because they are so juicy

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Our favourite types of fruit are apples, grapes and raspberries. We like them because they are sweet and juicy and taste yummy.

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Thank you to everyone who took part this week – great answers!

If you belong to a parish group that has been featured so far but you weren’t asked to contribute – sorry.

It simply means we didn’t have any way of contacting you.

We hope you still enjoyed everyone else’s contribution.

Last week, members of our Friendship group took part – thank you to everyone who contributed……

Question 1: When we’re not in lockdown, what’s the best part about meeting every Friday as a Friendship group?

I like to meet friendly members of Church family for lively conversation in groups or 1-1.

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Meeting with everyone and talking and spending time in their company.

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I really do feel we have still met up on a Friday. I find myself during the week saying “so-and-so said so” and so on. Then I think that “when did I meet them? I haven’t been anywhere and I realise it was over the Zoom Friendship Club. Although the actual process of meeting over Zoom is different and definitely not as good, it’s a pretty good substitute. It’s great to catch up on everyone’s news, share a joke and details of “home delivery finds”.  We continue the conversation and even swap music and videos during the week via What’s App. Long live the Friendship group (with particular thanks to a George & Liz and may it continue to grow when Lockdown is over.)

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The best thing of meeting every Friday is the knowledge that we share the same faith. It is also fun to play games together – I have learned to play Scrabble with the group.

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Friendship Club is something we both very much look forward to. We enjoy coffee / tea and a catch up every week. Playing various games affords us the opportunity for all of us to show our talents in all forms.

The best part is sitting with everybody and basically having a laugh and a joke.

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The call when you come in “would you like tea or coffee? Biscuits are on the table”. We are blessed to have George and Liz at the helm as they organise the birthdays with cake, candles and everyone singing “Happy Birthday”. The more energetic join in with table tennis, line dancing and other games. Scrabble another favourite or “Uno”, a card game which becomes very competitive.

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For me, the best bit about going along to the Friendship Club meetings on a Friday is the chance to mix with people that I might not necessarily come across very often in the course of parish life.  Then to try to thrash them, and Fathers Kevin and Inna, too, at the various card games, Dominoes, Scrabble, Ladder Golf and Quoits, plus Boules in the garden (when the weather’s nice).   I don’t win at cards very often, as Fr Inna is a daemon card player and a great sportsman too (he really likes to win!).

It’s great being able to chat about anything and everything, and to be able to celebrate birthdays with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, and to share in the delicious cakes that are provided.  We have a jolly good laugh.

My thanks go to Liz and George for organising the Club and getting everything ready for our meetings.

Also, we were planning various trips out and meals together.  But we will get back at some point and will celebrate in the appropriate manner.

Our WhatsApp posts and Zoom meetings are great fun, but it’s not the same as getting together in person.

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My husband enjoys meeting with friends and playing table tennis with them.

I enjoy chatting with everyone and doing the line dancing. George and Liz make the Friendship Club so welcoming, they are so kind and generous with their time and they always remember everyone’s birthday with a cake and a card

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The camaraderie and the caring for each other.

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Question 2: If you could change just ONE thing about lockdown, what would it be?

I struggled with this one because lock-down is for our and universal safety. Probably should have started sooner.

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 Nothing, just keep everyone safe and we the public will adhere to the UK lockdown.

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It would be to provide everyone, miraculously, with a device which gives Facetime and Zoom at the press of a button, as simple to use as an old-fashioned radio. I say radio and not TV because a lot of TVs are too complicated for me to understand! By pressing another button each would provide churches.TV web site just as simply so we could spend our time visiting churches all over the country, keep in touch with our own parish services and even perhaps a connection to the Vatican so we can easily participate there too.

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What I would change of lockdown is the social distancing – it is very important to meet with our friends. Now that we are apart we realize how precious is our mutual company.

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Lockdown has not stopped us from talking and seeing each other. Thank goodness for Zoom and WhatsApp.

What we now miss is physical meetings and being able to enjoy the open air.

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I’d like to be able, at a moment’s notice, to phone a friend and hop on a bus to Christchurch, Poole or anywhere our free bus pass will take us.

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It’s called Lockdown for a reason, so I can’t moan about abiding by it. 

However, the fact that it’s hard for people to contact companies when things go wrong (my broadband keeps throwing me out, and there’s no-where on Sky website to contact them about the fact that I probably need a new hub), is frustrating.  I don’t know what can be done about it, but the internet is allowing me to keep in touch with friends and family by email, WhatsApp and Zoom, as well as singing along with Gareth on YouTube, and I get annoyed when I lose my connection in the middle of a session.

However, it pales into insignificance when considering the wider picture.

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The lockdown is quite hard not being able to see the family and not being able to go to Mass.

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That I could still see my sick friends.

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Question 3: Lots of people seem to be doing more baking at the moment – what’s your favourite cake and why do you like it so much? (Perhaps it brings back particular memories or just hits the spot every time)

I like to make tea cake (where sultanas are soaked in cold tea) My mother used to bake it and I don’t know anyone, child or adult, who dislikes it when they taste it.

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Definitely a Choccy fan!!! Just love chocolate cake.  I cannot bake but have learnt how to bake oven chips and jacket potatoes and how to freeze bread and scones.

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The cake has to be a birthday cake, not because of any particular taste but because of what it signifies – sharing, caring, friendship and celebration. At Friendship Club we always have a cake complete with candle whenever anyone has a birthday. Over Zoom we can’t have one in reality but we still have virtual ones and as soon as lockdown is over we’re going to have one big celebration by going out for a meal together at the Riverside.

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Madeira cake because of the texture and taste. It’s a cake that has so much colour and brings back many memories of past celebrations.

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The wonderful home-made ginger cake at the Lourdes cake stall and Fair Trade coffee mornings.

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I like fruit cake, as it allows me one of my five a day (hum!)  I also like lemon drizzle, cos I like the tartness.

No special reason for these, other than the taste.  I’m not a gateau person – an iced bun, or jam doughnut would have been my choice pre-diabetes.  

It’ll be good to have the Lourdes Cake Stall back in business.

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Lemon drizzle cake.

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Sugar-free boiled fruit cake

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Thank you to everyone who took part this week – is anyone else’s mouth watering from all this talk of cake?!

 If you belong to a parish group that has been featured so far but you weren’t asked to contribute – sorry. 

It simply means we didn’t have any way of contacting you.

We hope you still enjoyed everyone else’s answers.

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Previously our Eucharistic Ministers took part – here are their answers…

Question 1: Have you learnt any new skills since lockdown?  If so, what and why?

A pair of new trousers were too long!  The solution was obvious but to complete this task needed the resurrection of a long lapsed skill:  sewing.

The almost new machine was opened with trepidation.  A wonderfully illustrated Instruction manual guided me through its workings and proved to be an ideal aid.  But I soon discovered that my dexterity and eyesight had certainly deteriorated.  Fingers were not moving as deftly and battled with any bobbin and thread actions.  Eyes had problems with inserting and threading a needle.  Foot applied too much pressure and jolted the speeding motion.  So it went on …..

The ´I can’t do it´ eventually turned to success.  A happy husband is ready to wear his new trousers and a happy wife is eagerly looking forward to her next challenge:

a FACE MASK

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Patience and tolerance!  Maybe not quite what you meant but living with someone with mental health issues in a half-packed house they are skills I’m having to use constantly.  When you have no family nearby and no other support, prayer is even more important to get us through the day!

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Someone very close celebrated a big birthday last week. In the lockdown, it was tricky to source a suitable cake so I decided to ‘have a go’ myself. While baking is a common skill, I need to share that, in spite of my MANY years, I have never baked a cake before.

Several recipe books were scanned. Ingredients and equipment were gathered in order to produce an acceptable Lemon Drizzle Cake which was gluten free. I donned my apron thinking that I could look the part – how appearances can deceive! I enclose a photo of the finished article. I need to point out that no human or animal suffered in this experiment, in fact, a few compliments were paid. Maybe I’ll try baking cake number two soon before the lockdown ends.

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I have learnt how to use Zoom and Skype, they are both brilliant ways of keeping in touch with family, friends and colleagues.

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Learning new things, yes doing emails, am not good at this, as am much better picking up the phone and having a good chat, keeping in touch with my mum, family and friends .

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I’m not sure if it’s a new skill, but I’m learning that sometimes good enough is good enough.  Trying to run a factory and manage a large team of people from my dining room table, whilst simultaneously trying to manage home schooling with my son, has not been easy but I’m beginning to accept that I can only do my best.  I also picked up some tips on spreadsheets this week whilst helping him with IT work – so there you go, a new skill after all!

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I haven’t learnt any new skills, but managed to take part in the making of a video which involves the team I work with at SWAST (South West Ambulance service).  During these unprecedented times, the making of this video, encouraged team cohesion and lifted the mood. It clearly demonstrated how we can all come together and work as one big family for the greater good.

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Patience. A deeper look at myself and the meditation at night. I’m amazed at what I find inside my heart.

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Since the lockdown I have been spending a lot more time in my kitchen. I have learnt how to bake my own bread – did not know it was that easy! I am now baking my own and I am even changing the recipe into my own, adding my own stuff in it, clever me lol! So after the lockdown I won’t be buying bread anymore

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I’m lucky enough that I am still working, albeit splitting my time between home and the office but mostly from home.  I’m not sure I’ve learnt many new skills but I have had to adapt many of my existing skills to the current situation.   Working from home has been a challenge in many ways and I am starting to figure it out.

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In reality I think I am honing my ‘sort it out & find a home for it skills’ especially in the Summer house & garage! I think the best answer to your question is – having time for observation, just watching nature & its daily differences. Usually Spring is a ‘busy’ season, at school with boards & services then in Church – planning the flowers etc, – but this year… none of those pressures. I have been able to watch the trees on my walk & almost see each new leaf open & grow……the blossom on the trees – I have seen through from ‘bud to drop’, which is very moving in a way & a new experience. I have also had more time for knitting & dressing dolls for friends’ grandchildren – this is a pastime I always enjoy (but now – without the guilt !!).

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New skills?  No, just rejuvenating an old one, if skill it is! Have had more time to indulge in what l would call a hobby, rather than a skill! Trying new recipes, refreshing old ones, adding a dash of this, a sprinkle of that! 

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I have been kept so busy during this time, it’s strange as we are in this unique situation but I am busy.  I have a close relation staying, my sister was on her way to her daughter in Spain from the Carribean and is stuck here till the world opens its doors! This in itself is life-changing for me. 

I am, with a couple of other WI members, trying to assist vulnerable members in our village and neighbours, mainly shopping, but also the chat and connection with people who are truly alone is very important. 

I have joined a choir online with Gareth Malone, it’s amazing but consists of learning and recording oneself to sing the chosen items, a sharp learning curve indeed! 

The technology alone is surprising, I never thought I could learn such things. 

My garden is a very large part of my life and I have spent a lot of time working there, finding as one does, such peace of spirit in the hard work and the pottering. Twilight is the best and most peaceful time for contemplation. Hopefully I will have some food supplies from my activities, more than usual all being well. 

Question 2: What do you miss most about not coming to church?

The first priority for all new groups of Christians is a building for worship which quickly becomes a spiritual home.  Our Lady Queen of Peace church is a holy and beautiful place.  Above all it is a house for the Blessed Sacrament and for the Altar of God where Holy Mass is celebrated.  It is a special place for all of us – young, not so young and elderly.  So it is very distressing to be locked out of our church, however valid the reason may be.

I miss the simple pleasure of entering our church to find God‘s presence within; I miss the peace and tranquility.  I miss being there alone and being with my Catholic brothers and sisters.

Please God, may the doors soon open.

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 I really miss Mass and not receiving Holy Communion plus the support of my Church Family – I hadn’t realised how much I needed their support and love or how much I took going to Mass for granted. 

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Attending the Friday morning Mass – the final Mass before lockdown – was poignant. I’m sure my fellow parishioners felt the same. We miss the leadership of our priests, Fr Kevin, Fr Inna and Fr Brian, each with their own way of leading us in worship especially at our Eucharistic Celebrations. We miss the friendship and support in worship of our fellow parishioners, the quiet welcoming smile, of being together as a community in worship and appreciating that corporate sense of belief and reverence.

So it is a time of firsts – particularly memorable was our Easter vigil service with a roaring Easter fire with the chiminea, the centrality of a cast iron cross, brought from Ireland in the late 1800s and in the Family across the years. Also, we have a substantial candle which stands in very well as our paschal candle. Reflective readings of the Exultet and those glorious Easter texts retelling the Story of our salvation stand out as key moments in celebrating Easter 2020 at home. I must say that we had no replacement for the joy-filled peal of bells rung by the Altar servers at the Gloria though!

We also miss our 6 o’clock choir led so well by Anne. They add so much to the spirit of our liturgies.

We have found real benefit from the Aleteia website, and ready access to Pope Francis liturgies. More recently, we were delighted to join in with our very own OLQP transmission of 9.30am Mass on Sunday [This can be found every Sunday at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgDrI3aMHe5uuWnnWgNVDQw].

God bless and keep safe!

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I miss being able to sing with the choir and share the feeling of coming together in prayer and the giving and receiving of Holy Communion.  I also miss seeing my friends and people I only get to see at church and finding out how they are all getting on.  I miss seeing the First Holy Communion children and their families.  I also miss being able to go into the hall afterwards to buy things from the Fair Trade and the Lourdes Cake Stalls.

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Going to church for me is receiving the body of Christ and joining in the celebrating of prayer and love.  Going on YouTube has helped.

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I miss the familiarity of seeing the same smiling faces every week, and I miss the hour I think of as my “reset” time, where I can reconnect not only with Our Lord, but also with myself.

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We miss going to church each week, not only because we miss the opportunity to pray in God’s house and receive the holy Sacraments, but the fact we’re unable to spend time with our church family face-to-face. Please God it won’t be long before we’re safely back together again.

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I miss the death and resurrection alive on the altar and receiving my Lord and my God.  I feel at peace watching Holy Mass on my iPad, but sometimes I feel very empty and hollow. I lift it up to God, and sometimes I get comfort from doing so.  Also the precious moment we all share together through the hands of the priest, the chosen one by God. I have always had this problem when we’ve had no priest and we had to be at Church as Eucharistic Ministers – the death and resurrection on the altar had not taken place.

I miss my children and grandchildren, how much I love them. The distance hurts. But I have seen how much they love me. How they bake for me. How they stand across the road to my flat with a big board, written on it “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY GRANNY, LOVE YOU.  I will always treasure this moment, I have the board in my flat and I keep looking at it, knowing that I love them and they love me. How good is my God, to have made me their grandmother.

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For me it has to be the Communion. The Spiritual Communion is good as God is coming Spiritually into our soul but it is even better to receive it sacramentally.

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 The 8am mass is very social.   I look forward to catching up with everyone once things start returning to normal.

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I think – the feeling of Family. I miss chatting to our pair of priests ( & Fr Brian) . I really miss seeing & chatting to the ‘regulars’ at 8 o’clock & daily Mass & the feeling of celebrating together….(I do worry that they are OK ). I really miss being a Minister & a Reader too & feeling I am taking my part in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Strangely too, I miss the actual building – the ‘security’ of it – OLQP church has been part of my life in different ways for almost 60 years! (goodness – is it really that long !), & we were married there 49 years ago….so it has always been an important (& homely) place . I have been ‘going to Mass’ on the Internet each day (churchservices/tv) & that has been an experience. Not the same as ‘being physically there’ & I get distractions from the cat etc, but a really good substitute.

I was very surprised that ‘Portsmouth Cathedral ‘had Mass in Latin & with the priest’s back to the people, as did a couple of others. I really like the Augustinian Brothers who give lovely little chats – always with a new twist which make you think, & some of the Irish priests are delightful – with their insights & sayings. All of which has kept me ‘in touch’ – BUT – it’s not our Parish family Mass.

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Miss most being able to be physically present with my parish family in God’s presence. I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy Mass online each day from various places and that’s been inspiring but it’s so much better to be together, it gives each day the right focus

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Regarding church, I do so miss the community feeling, the friendship of the choir and parishioners. I don’t seem to be in touch with most of them since this separation started, it’s very sad.

I miss being able to take part in the Eucharist. But feel spiritually fed when I watch some services and see the tabernacle. 

The readings I do at home already and praying in my special place too. Not always as I would wish but I feel the presence of the Lord and our holy mother when I speak or, ask them to be with me while I am doing my work. 

St Anthony has been such a great friend to me in my life, this feeling started with my mother who often asked him for help, usually to find something. She was a great believer in the power of prayer and in the help we receive from Mary, our Holy Mother, and the Sacred Heart. My love for the divine mercy was via my Polish Father. 

On a lighter note, I have been able, in part anyway, to continue with my Bollywood fitness sessions via Zoom. It’s good to connect with the ladies and our lack of ability to use the technology causes great hilarity. 

Question 3: Before lockdown did you have a favourite local place to go to on a day off?  Why was it special to you?

Not far from home.  A ferry crossing.  No passports or charge of currency needed, no foreign language skills required.  The Isle of Purbeck.

Time and time again I visit this magical area where scenery abounds in beauty at every turn.  Steeped in history, enormous geological interest and artistic inspiration, it also offers wonderful spots to refresh one’s mind and soul in every season.  Corfe Castle is just one focal point.

C o r f e  C a s t l e

Towering mighty ruins

Built on solid foundations

Seen from afar

Silhouetted against breathtaking

Everchanging skies

Bearing witness to centuries past

Telling tales of colourful bygone days

Kings and queens

Envy, greed and murder

Wars and tumults

Now in all seasons

A place of interest and study

Young and old

Flock to its magnificent stature

Visitors from all corners of the globe mingle

Every tongue can be heard

Artists capturing its moods

In word and palette

Goay sheep grazing on steep hill sides

Inquiring minds filled with a rich

tapestry of history

Are homeward bound

From a stronghold

That will last for ever

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Swanage.  We both love Swanage – my husband and his family used to holiday there for years (so some wonderful memories) and it was the first place we came on holiday too as a couple and we spent many years coming back, staying in a caravan for our fortnight’s annual holiday.   We find it such a relaxing place – go to Arne for a walk and a spot of bird watching, plus coffee of course!!  Then off to Swanage for a walk through, into the pier and check the various brass plaques we’ve bought over the year followed by yummy Fish & Chips plus possibly an ice cream then home via the ferry!  

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We love to travel on the chain ferry at Sandbanks. There’s a magic in crossing Poole harbour-mouth across the racing waters looking over to the landing point of Brownsea Island. We follow the undulating road towards the National Trust car park at Middle beach. The Bullfinches bask on the warm tiles of the café afluttering down to raid of breadcrumbs and pasty edges, tripping boldly from table to table.

The walk along Shell bay gives a chance to spot flights of waders and gather up bright shells while the mesmeric tide rolls gently in. On a clear day the view across Poole Harbour is spectacular. Scanning from the left you see The Isle Of Wight with the polar bear white cliffs and the Needles sweeping on by Hengistbury, the piers of Boscombe and Bournemouth, along by Sandbanks and Studland then out to the right and the Harry Rocks. 

Next stop – a stroll around the kitchen garden at The Pig Hotel/restaurant and a chat with the friendly young gardeners about their range of tasks. A modest stroll towards the sea takes us to Fort Henry and a key position in the second world war. In 1944, it was used as the lookout point by Churchill, Eisenhower and King George VIth to watch the rehearsal of the British and Commonwealth Troops in readiness for the D-Day invasion of the Normandy Beaches. (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland ) We are longing to return

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I love going to Stewarts in Christchurch. My friends and I regularly go there to have a look round at all the lovely things they have on sale as well as all the plants. But mainly we go there for a cup of tea and sample some of their amazing selection of cakes and have a good gossip.

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My favourite place, is with my loved ones. Laughing with the grandchildren and watching them play ❤️ So thank goodness for technology we can stay in touch with everyone

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My son has played rugby for years, and over that time we have developed close friendships with the other families.  Much as I roll my eyes at spending endless Sunday mornings stood in a cold wet field, I’m now really missing the opportunity to spend that much time outdoors, chatting and laughing with our friends, and watching the boys have fun!  When we finally get back, it’ll be a long time before I choose to stay at home and do the ironing rather than standing outside in the rain!

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On days off, especially if I had spare time from the usual household chores, I loved popping into the local Coffee shop, with a friend for a chat, a catch up and even sharing a laugh or two. It’s the small, simple things I miss more than anything else, things we so take for granted.

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Oh yes, Coffee One. Time with my eldest son, a one to one. Sharing memories, and opinions. Listening to each other. Seeing some bits of my late husband in him. Our times are so very special to me.  My grandchildren too, feeling their hugs and hearing them say “Hi! Granny, come in”.  So I guess the other place is their home.

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Well on my spare time I used to take my daughter to the sand parķ by the beach – she loves it there and she was always bumping into some friends from church, school or making some new friends.

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I’m lucky enough that I can still get to my favourite places such as Hengistbury Head and Southbourne beach for a short walk even during lockdown.   We live in a lovely part of the country, not everyone is so fortunate.    

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One of my favourite places is Hengistbury Head : I volunteer up there at the garden, & I love the visitors’ Centre, with its bird boxes & cameras, watching the Herons nesting.  Last year I watched as a Kestrel brought up her whole family of seven chicks! The care she took to make sure EVERY chick ate each time was amazing. I missed their actual fledging, but we were having a coffee break one Wed morning – with one of the Wardens – and a sparrow chick fledged from its box and landed on his shoulder!! Who was more surprised is hard to say but we all realised we were the first HUMANS to see that little bird!

I often walk along the river too and up to the Head along Roebury Lane, which is my favourite exercise walk. I remember coming to Bournemouth when I was a child, the coach was stuck in traffic on the Bridge in Christchurch (long before the Bypass) – I looked down at the river & the Priory never dreaming I would end up living within walking distance of it! It still remains one of my favourite places.

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Favourite place, outside church, my home l suppose! Don’t have or need ‘days off’ really, being retired, l’m quite happy to spend my time pottering in my garden, enjoying time with my family, socialising with friends and neighbours. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before all of these can happen again!

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Thank you to everyone who took part this week – great answers (and lots of places to add to the “Must visit when this is all over” list!)

 If you belong to a parish group that has been featured so far but you weren’t asked to contribute – sorry.

It simply means we didn’t have any way of contacting you.

We hope you still enjoyed everyone else’s answers.

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Previously the 11am Choir kindly answered some questions – here are their answers…

Question 1: How are you keeping yourself busy at the moment?

“I’m keeping busy trying out new techniques for painting with acrylics and watercolours.  I have watched lots of fabulous demos on YouTube, and have tried several – to varying degrees of success!  I recommend anyone to watch these demos to see what you can do.  Since Lockdown (LD), I have painted (and sometimes embellished as well) 20-ish small, medium and large acrylic pictures, and have used watercolours on 8.  I’m going to try ‘crazy cats’ and see-through flowers next.  Most of these will be available to buy from the first craft stall we hold after LD.  Proceeds to the Church Roof Fund, of course.

I had had every intention of tidying up my shambolic craft room.  But that went out the window once I saw those demos.  Life’s too short to do housework.

I have also been joining Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus each weeknight at 5.30 – 6pm, on YouTube.  The BBC will be making a two-part documentary about it, and the 3 songs we’re learning will be shown as a montage of various singers.  I’m not sending in any videos, as I don’t understand the tech needed.  But it’s fun singing along, and Gareth is so lovely.

I’ve also been Zooming with two local choirs – SOBO and Southbourne Sings (who used to practice in the church each Tuesday before LD).

Since Zoom has been introduced into my life, I have also joined fellow Friendship Club members on Friday evenings.  It’s great being able to see each other, rather than just text or phone.”

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“I am currently working from home; this has been an interesting experience for me as being a Teaching Assistant I spend very little time using a computer so my IT skills are not very good.  I have had to get to know how to use the various school applications in order to support students with their work. I can safely say I have never sent so many emails.

I have also been enjoying taking part in Ian Waites’ Fitsteps classes and joining in with family quiz nights via Zoom which are great fun and a good way to keep in touch with everyone.”

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“I would say, first of all, that it is providential how we are now at an age where technology is so advanced and accessible wherever we are. Thank goodness, because without it, I am not so sure how I could have kept my sanity intact. Living on my own, it is such a blessing to have the opportunity to be able to still interact with those around me, notwithstanding the distance.

Anyway, with such technology, I attend Mass, alternately, in four different churches. I join the Handmaids Sister at the Convent for Adoration and rosary prayer and also that of the Dominican Sisters too.

I have live chats with members of my family who are in four different places (Taguig City and Bacoor, Cavite in Philippines, Dubai and Algiers) – using Zoom is incredibly handy for the family to have some good quality time together for fun. With the same procedure, Southbourne Sings Choir and I have a session, once a week, with our Musical Director. Singing does help to lower stress, ease tension and makes us feel happy when we’re down. Music is the food for the soul, apart from prayers.

One thing I am very pleased about is that I can still connect with my elderly friend (a parishioner of OLQP) who has dementia and is in a care home. I am glad that the Home recently organised to have Skype – I was thrilled to bits when I saw my friend smile and she was so happy when she heard my voice.

I do a variety of things just to avoid a task getting monotonous and become boring. So, I assign to do something at a certain time each day of the week (reading, crocheting, baking, paper bead making, cooking, and watch films, and lately, gardening now the sunny days are here!). So far, I’ve also polished off six books (3 of J. Grisham, 1 of I. Rankin, and 2 of D. Steel)!

I have crocheted three panels of bunting, a new spiral granny square and a Christmas set which was a present from last Christmas.  I’ve made a couple of face masks for my elderly neighbour and his care worker too and when I do baking, I tend to share with them, and sometimes, my cooking as well.  In recognition and support of all the key and frontline workers, I crocheted a back-to-back rainbow with the colours of wool that I had in hand – it may not be the right colours but the thought is there! It is my simple way of saying ‘thank you’, placed on display on my front window with my little purple teddy (the very first present from my late husband).  I have also been engrossed making paper beads so I now have a collection of them, ready for when the Sew, Knit and Natter is back in session.

Watching films and TV series is a way to have some relaxation – I like the different NCIS episodes, The Big Bang Theory, CIS, Bull, Chicago PD, CSI, Chicago Fire, and so on along those lines.

Last, but not the least, now that we have good weather, I am embarking on a very challenging task in the back garden. I am to dig a soak away trench/drain for the gutter of my garage. I don’t know how hard the soil is, but I am sure I can tackle it, slowly. It is a project I am determined to do. I also intend to do some painting inside the house, but that can wait till I am done with the work in the garden, which needs a lot doing to it!”

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“I’m keeping busy by taking the dog on very long walks along the clifftop and beyond – it’s good for both of us. The garden looks better than it ever has, I’ve re-stained a lot of garden furniture and creosoted a large fence. My car is sparkly clean and I’m doing a bit of embroidery. Daily phone calls/facetime/zoom quizzes with family take a while but are so necessary.”

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“So since the beginning of the lockdown my days are very busy with active Live Mass on Facebook with The Annunciation Church at 9.30am week days or at 10am Sundays then after that it’s the time I spend with my daughter doing her school homework, then at 5pm it is our active Holy Hour (Adoration and Rosary) still Live on Facebook with The Annunciation Church and at 8pm it is our Rosary time, again on a Catholic radio from back home (Radio St Louis) so this time in my own language as I do want my daughter to learn the rosary in both languages.”

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Question 2: Where in the world is the strangest place you’ve been to Mass?  What made it different / exciting / interesting?

(Some people have chosen to answer this focussing on where they have been to Mass ‘virtually’ since lockdown; others have thought about Masses throughout their lifetime – both approaches are equally fine)

“One of the strangest, but enjoyable places where I have attended Mass was in a piece of grassland beside a tall hotel in Majorca in the ‘60s.  There was no church, as the place was a newish resort, not an established village.  The priest got a table and laid out the altar, and we all said Mass whilst being overlooked by holidaymakers on their balconies.  It was lovely and sunny, and very enjoyable.  I’ve been to various churches abroad (including the Vatican), but that Mass has always remained in my memory.”

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“I watched an amazing Stations of the Cross from the Philippines.  The Priest started off at the top of a hill and gradually made his way down the hill stopping at various points where figures had been placed to represent each of the Stations.  It was both beautiful and meaningful as it was just the Priest and a couple of servers, I expect that usually the whole of the church congregation would accompany him on his journey down the hill.”

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“When in Tenerife I go to a lovely church called St Eugenios, it’s ecumenical so shared with Roman Catholics, Church of England and Lutherans. It’s always a lovely, friendly Mass with beautiful singing and we go for refreshments with the priest and locals afterwards in the bakery cafe next door. I’ve even learnt a teenie-weenie bit of spanish. It’s not strange or exciting I’m afraid, just lovely.

I did go to a strange one last year when visiting my son. Instead of a homily we listened to a letter from the bishop and whilst we were listening, the priest (not from our diocese), went into the sacristy at the back of the sanctuary and started sorting out his albs and doing a bit of dusting – the door was wide open so it was quite distracting!”

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“Live Mass at Lourdes, Live Mass at Rome with Pope Francis, Live Mass in Charminster and Live Mass in the Caribbean.

What made it different/exciting/interesting?……Not so much different as for me Mass is Mass. The only thing is that although we have the Spiritual Communion I am missing eating and drink the bread and wine. Excited yes because despite the lockdown and the churches being close we can still follow those live Masses anywhere in the world. It is also interesting to see that it can be done via the internet so a different way and method used to celebrate Mass.”

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Question 3: What is your favourite hymn and why?

“I love hundreds of hymns and have been in church choirs since 1984.  I often think to myself that a hymn just sung is my favourite, and one for the funeral.  But I do love especially “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” (#654 in the hymn book).  It’s written in 5/4 time, which is an unusual jazz-like rhythm.  It is very uplifting and jolly, and talks about singing, dancing and making music – all things I’ve loved since I first sang in public when I was three years old (Me And My Teddy Bear – aaah!).”

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“ ‘Here I Am Lord’ – I find this a really powerful hymn as it reminds us of God’s power, that he is listening to us and will guide us.  I like the line “He will make the darkness bright”, which gives us hope, particularly in the situation we now find ourselves in.”

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“I think my favourite hymn, although I have a few, is “Hail Queen of Heaven (the ocean star)”.  It so reminds me of my seven years at convent school, I loved every day, strict though it was. We had hymn practise every Tuesday and I so looked forward to it, Hail Queen of Heaven was a constant. We don’t sing it at choir that often but when we do it always brings a tear to my eyes and some lovely memories”

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“I have many favourite hymns depending on different times and situations, but my favourite hymn for today’s circumstances has to be:

          

             “Walk with me, Oh my Lord

             Through the darkest night and brightest day

             Be at my side oh Lord,

             Hold my hand and guide me on my way.”

The chorus says it all and the verses talk of long roads, barriers on the way, storms and the misty unknown.  I like to sing it as I walk on my daily exercise and if I can’t remember the words it doesn’t matter as the Lord knows them all!  I know the chorus very well and through it all I put my hand into the Lord’s hand and know that all will be well.

Keep on carrying on and keep laughing!  Miss you all”

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“My favourite Hymn is “Longing for Light” because every time I sing it it touches me from inside.  This song for me kind of like summarises or points out most of the problems that we have in the world and it gives us most of the answers to overcome those problems.”

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Here are some of the pictures of the lovely things being created over this time

First Holy Communion group responses:

Question 1: what are you most grateful for at the moment? 

“Most grateful for my family and health”

“Our little garden, our family, our greenhouse, daddy being able to work so we can have food, the sea, mummy being able to look after us, and our tortoise.”

“That despite the fact we are away from all family, we still have each other and that we are safe and well”

“I am really grateful for the cleaner air we have now and I am grateful that mum makes nice food”

“The opportunity for us to clap together on doorsteps, to think, and be stiller, despite all the suffering…”

“At the moment I am most grateful for the NHS because they are saving people’s lives”

“Family”

“I’m most grateful for all the family time the lockdown is affording us”

“Most grateful for playing lots of board games”

“Chocolate!”

“Health, safety & the sun. We know of friends in the nhs under strain & all the kindness that this country is demonstrating”

“As a family, we are grateful for the fantastic care my husband received during his recent illness and for all of our good health. We are also grateful for ‘time’ – we are using our time to get some overdue jobs completed around our house, home-schooling (which is a challenge but we are doing ok!) and we are enjoying focused family time…we have lots of board games and we are finally playing them in the evening rather than watching the television!”

“Grateful for being alive and the food that we have”

“Grateful for our house with a garden, our dog and the sun”

“We are eternally grateful for family and friends keeping well and safe”

“We are grateful that we are all well and keeping safe. That those we hold dear are safe and getting the help they need.”

Question 2: what’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone lately and who did you do it for? 

“Trying to understand our younger sister’s needs, helping mummy with house bits, clearing the table, helping daddy make the decking at the weekend and keeping our rooms kinda tidy!”

“I missed my friends so much and I did a video call so I could see them and tell them how much I missed them and love them.”

“Looking after my mum”

“Me and my sister made a big poster – “Happy Easter for NHS and All Key workers” – and we hang it outside our balcony”

“Oooh… I made my grandpa a card and wrote lots in it, telling him I miss him”

“I sent a loved one a Lindt Chocolate orange bar explaining it was 1 of the 5 a day to allow them to scoff it guilt free and pleasure-rich…”

“The nicest things I have done lately was handing items to my sister when she required them”

One of our dads replied: “I am scanning and emailing the puzzle pages of the newspapers for the aged in-laws. My wife is the home school chef, PE/science/maths and home economics teacher (making me the headmaster, deputy head and janitor). Our daughter is cheering up Grandma with her calls, cards and singing, while our son is just generally helpful (mind you, points have been deducted for the 0430hrs commencement of the Easter bunny hunt on Easter Sunday!”

“We gave some roulade to a neighbour as he is on his own”

“Our daughter kindly gave her friend some things to keep her occupied and didn’t expect anything in return. As a family, like many others, we are supporting our parents as they self-isolate which makes us feel useful when little else is in our control!”

“Nicest thing we have done is looking after our isolating relatives”

“We are looking after my parents and keeping in contact with them, helping with shopping. My job gives me an opportunity to talk to and help people in need by telephone”

“I painted an Easter card for my grandmother”

Question 3: what’s your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Who knew there were so many flavours?!!  Our First Holy Communion families are a discerning group – although chocolate ice-cream came out as the favourite they also like:

Mint and raspberry, vanilla, mint choc chip, “It has to be Marsh Farm’s vanilla with berries”, cookies & cream, raspberry, salted caramel, cookie dough, coffee, rum & raisin, DOUBLE chocolate, jaffa cake or candyfloss flavours (although apparently not both at the same time!), strawberry, Italian coconut, good plain old vanilla and finally, praline.

And one family has been especially busy: “with time on our hands we made homemade pineapple ice cream as that is our favourite.”  Yummy!

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A very BIG thank you to all of our FHC families who took part – it’s great to hear from you. 

As well as answering these questions some of the children have also been busy making some wonderful creations over Easter which they wanted to share with you.  Enjoy…………..