God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Tomorrow

Yes, I know I said my previous blog was to be the final one – I know! But, when you are given a new subject to write about, you just have to go with it. So, just for this one time (?) I’ve resurrected it. (Another idea has just popped into my head!)

When I was young I could never get my head around “tomorrow”. Mum or Dad would tell us we had, say, six more tomorrows then we’d be going on holiday. Or, whilst anxiously awaiting Christmas Eve, Dad would say it’s only another week – just seven tomorrows. I thought that there were seven days in a week, not seven tomorrows.

To confuse me even more, when “tomorrow” arrived it became “today”. So what happened to the today gone by? Well, of course, it became yesterday! All very baffling for a young, active mind to take in.

My Gran used to tell us that “Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.” Now that’s confusing, too.

And there’s an old saying: “Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.” Ah, I understood that – I think.

Putting off until tomorrow does nothing to ease a problem; if a problem it is. Whatever we “put off” will still be there two, three, four days later. Putting it off only exacerbates the worry.

The Bible tells us not to put things off until tomorrow:

(James 4 verses 13-14 N.I.V.)

(13) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— (14) yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow – only God knows . However, one thing’s for certain, when Jesus comes back, as He will, to judge the living and the dead, will you be among those who wish they’d listened when someone told them the truth?

Being a Christian is not wearing leather gloves on Sunday and being holier than thou. It’s about knowing the Person of Jesus, having a real relationship with Him and, as a result, having the knowledge that one day we will all be together in Heaven with our Heavenly Father – for ever and ever.

There is only one way to get to Heaven, whatever you may think to the contrary:

The following verses are from John 14 verses 2- 6:

2. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Don’t put it off any longer. Find a church, go to a service and be amazed.

God Bless.

    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/269934571385416592/
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New Year

“Well,” as my Mum used to say on 2nd January each year, “it’s all over for another year”

I’ve never given much thought to her remark until this morning, when I realised I’d been saying the same thing myself for years!!!

It’s odd, don’t you think, that from September onwards every year Christmas and New Year are everywhere: in the shops, on the radio and T.V., in the newspapers. If some cataclysmic event happens somewhere in the world we tend to say, “What a shame it’s happened at Christmas”, but the tragic event would be just as dreadful were it to happen on 12th June, or 31st October.

Christmas, as most of us know, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, albeit probably not on the precise date. But do we put as much effort into celebrating that wonderful event as we do with the shopping and gift wrapping that means Christmas to so many?

When I was a child I rarely went to church. I remember attending Sunday School but (dare I say) only to collect the picture stickers that would eventually add up to receiving a book, the value of which would reflect how many stickers I’d collected over the year. What’s more I would be eligible to go on the Sunday School outing, the details of which I have no recollection – it must have been somewhat low-key, I fear!

I can’t remember, either, whether or not we had a Nativity Play, but I’m sure there would have been one. I don’t recall ever taking part.

So from this you can see that the religious side of Christmas meant very little to me.

We always had presents and extra food, Santa always came and left us a pillow-case with fruit and sweets in. I know for sure he came because Dad always left him a mince pie and a glass of beer. Next morning they had gone but Santa had left us a note saying, “Thank you” – and Rudolf thanked us for the carrot – magical times!!

New Year was celebrated with a party for Mum and Dad’s friends and we had to go to bed as usual at 7 o’clock. However, at 11.45 Dad would come and wake us up to see the New Year in with them. We’d all stand round the radio waiting for Big Ben to strike twelve and on the final “bong” everyone would cheer and toast the New Year. We kids had to be satisfied with a glass of lemonade, then, back to bed we’d go. I wasn’t sure what it was all about but everyone else seemed to know what was going on!!

Almost Midnight

This year, my husband and I were in bed by 10 p.m. and were undisturbed all night. If there were any fireworks we didn’t hear them – it all passed us by. Perhaps I’m getting too old for strenuous celebrations.

So, may I wish you all a very happy New Year and may 2014 bring you all you desire.

Happy New Year 2014


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Winter 1947

It’s January 1947 and I’m 4½ years old. During the winter of 1946–47 the UK experienced several cold spells, beginning on 21 January 1947, bringing the severest snowfalls for 150 years to the country. Roads were closed and railways became blocked. Coal supplies, already low following the Second World War, struggled to get through to power stations and many were forced to shut down due to lack of fuel. The government introduced several measures to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting industrial supplies completely. Radio broadcasts were limited, and some magazines were ordered to stop being published; newspapers were cut in size. Public morale was very low due to these measures and the Minister of Fuel and Power received death threats and had to be placed under police guard. Towards the end of February there were also fears of a food shortage as supplies were cut off and vegetables frozen into the ground.

Imagine frost on the inside of the bedroom windows! We had no central heating, just one coal fire in the front room. At night Mum would find as many blankets as she could, after which it was coats to keep us warm. The bedroom floor was covered in linoleum, not carpet, so our feet felt as if they would stick to the cold floor when we walked. I recall going with Mum to the coal merchant and pretending that I was someone else’s little girl so that Mum could get an extra bag of fuel. So two bags of coal were loaded into the baby’s pram (he wasn’t in it at the time!)

It was grim! It has gone down in history as one of the severest winters in living memory. However, as I was such a small child it hardly seemed to affect me. I don’t remember going without food, but it must have been very hard for my parents.


One thing I do remember with vivid clarity was the time I was stuck in a snow drift up to my armpits. Now, you might think that’s hilariously funny (I do, now!) but for a 4½ year old it was terrifying. I’d been sent out to play so that Mum could “get on with things” (probably connected to my seven-month old brother). So, off I went on my adventure. I have no idea what I was thinking about but I can remember a sudden “sinking” feeling. Apparently I’d stepped where there was a snow-covered ditch and down I went. When I think now of what might have happened I am horrified but I must have shouted or cried so loudly that someone came along and pulled me out.

I’m not sure to this day whether I received loving cuddles or not when I arrived home soaking wet, frozen cold and a very unhappy bunny.

I love reminiscing about my childhood as it makes me reaslie just how fortunate we are these days.

We’ve been warned that this winter may well be as bad as 1947, but, even if that transpires to be true, we will have a better time of it than we did 67 years ago.

How our lives have changed since then. And most of us, including myself, take so much of it for granted. Heating, lighting, carpets, well-stocked shops and supermarkets. We really have it all.

So, please, if you’re reading this and you are living where there is plenty, spare a thought for those people, even in Europe and America, who have little or nothing to look forward to this Christmas because of poverty.

And thank God for what you have!!


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The First Day

All of us have experienced a “first day” in something or other, whether it’s the first day at school, the first day at work or the first day of a holiday – there are always “first days” in all of our lives.

I can’t remember the very first day I started school because I was only three years old. At that time (1945) there was a scheme in place for working mothers, especially those engaged in war work, to be able to send their very young children to school before the age of five years. It was, I suppose, something like the modern play school or activity group, but at that time it was ground-breaking.

The men were, mostly, in the armed forces serving their country and the women, mostly, stayed at home. However, in 1941 women were called to do war work. Mum worked in a munitions factory, filling bomb cases with phosphorous – a most unpleasant task, you will agree. But it was a necessary job and someone had to do it. Because of the dangerous nature of working with ammunition, nobody was allowed to take anything into the workshops that could cause an explosion. This meant no matches, coins, hairpins, rings or anything metallic. They were searched as they entered the factory. She often told us that at night her fingers would glow from the phosphorus that remained under her nails. Needless to say, I don’t remember any of that.

And the same goes for my first day at Junior School. All I can remember is the playground and it seemed massively large to me. We could run around, skip, chase each other but when the whistle was blown by the teacher we would all form a line and march back into the classroom. I must have eaten school dinner that day, but have no memory of it whatsoever.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (Big School) my first day at Grammar School, which I remember with vivid clarity. Whenever I think about it I can still feel the excitement combined with trepidation.

My first day at work was in 1957 when I was 15 years old. I had left school with no qualifications and had always dreamed of being an air hostess. The idea of travelling to places I’d only read about in books appealed to me, but there was not much chance of that job with my school reports telling how I must try harder! So, for me, the next best thing was to work in a shop. Something of a step down from my dreams into reality, but I thought it would be fun. My shop was a sweet shop.

I’d often played shops when I was much younger and it seemed to be quite good fun. Mum or Dad must have seen an advertisement relating to the job because there I was, on the bus, going to the next town to start work. My pay was to be £2.5.0d (£2.25p) a week from 8.45 a.m. until 6 p.m. six days a week. I was so excited and for the short time I was there I really enjoyed it. The owner taught me how to wrap a box of chocolates that was to be given as a gift and how to speak to customers and recommend “just that little bit extra” to buy. I do remember three ladies who came into the shop every Friday evening at 5 o’clock to buy their sweets for the coming week. They always had the same order and I was soon able to remember how much each one cost and what the total would be. (They thought my addition skills were superb!). Sadly, after six months, I left as we moved house to another town.

Again, in a previous blog (18 to 20) you can read of my first day in the W.R.A.F., travelling up to Grantham for the basic training and how I was admonished by the corporal before I’d even set foot on the training camp!!

Since then I’ve had many first days. First day as a Mum, first day in an airplane, first day as a grandma, my first day as a Christian and so it goes on.

But have you ever thought about the very First Day?

Imagine, if you will, nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s not easy to do because we’ve always been surrounded by “something”. But try to imagine NOTHING. Close your eyes. What can you see? Nothing. But you know when you open them again you will see something.

The very first chapter of the Bible tells us of there being Nothing.

Read the following slowly and imagine each thing mentioned happening.

We’ll begin at Verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1:

2. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The earth was formless – no shape – nothing.
Darkness was over the surface of the deep – there was nothing.
And God said: “Let there be light” – suddenly there was something.
God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness – day and night.
And there was evening, and there was morning – The First Day.

Everything has to start somewhere. Only God can make Something from Nothing.

If you haven’t thought much about this before, read those four verses again, slowly. Take it all in. God is our Creator. He made everything.

And, what’s more, He sent His Son to die for us so that our wrongdoings can be forgiven.

Check it out. It’s worth it. He’s worth it!


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Are We Nearly There?

If you’ve followed my Blogs to date, you’ll already know that, when I was a child in the post-war Midlands there wasn’t much money to spare for extras. However, we always seemed to have enough for a holiday by the sea – not every year, but certainly I can remember a couple of times. On both of these occasions we went to a caravan site at Prestatyn, a holiday resort in north Wales, and spent a week there.

My parents didn’t own a car until the beginning of the 1960s, so if ever we went any distance it would be by coach or train. However, for these holidays I definitely remember going by car.

My Dad, as an extra part of his duties at work, would often be called upon to drive the elderly Managing Director into work and as a “thank you” he was allowed to borrow the car occasionally for his own use. The car was a 1948 Ford Prefect and I can still remember the registration – HFD 718. If you own that car, then it’s the one I once rode in!!!

So, off we would go, with our things packed, not in suitcases, but in bags and bundles. (I don’t think we owned any suitcases as we didn’t often go away.)

Today, the journey from where I lived to the holiday destination takes 2hours and 9 minutes and is 108 miles in length, 69 of which are on motorways. So, forget the motorways, imagine you’re driving in a three-speed Ford Prefect and you’ll realise that it probably took us almost a whole day to get there!

On the journey we’d sing songs or play I-Spy and when we became bored with that (three kids in the back of a cramped car!) we’d start asking, “Are we nearly there?” We’d probably travelled only a few miles, but it did seem a very long way!

So the next thing was, “first person to see the sea”, but we had too many false alarms so that was scrapped – “Are we nearly there?” Dad and Mum suggested different things we could look out for – buses, cyclists, cars like the one we were in, horses and carts, but each time we ended up saying, “Are we nearly there?” It could vary, of course, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?”.

We would, of course, eventually arrive and have a great week playing on the beach, paddling, splashing about, building sandcastles, hoping the incoming tide wouldn‘t wash it all away. We never asked for anything more – it was wonderful.

But, all too soon the week was over and yet, you know, the funny thing is, we never asked the same question on the way home!! We just wanted to stay in that lovely place forever.

My Christian journey has been a bit like this. I was travelling along the road towards salvation and once this was achieved by accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour then I wondered “What next?” “Am I there, yet?” At first I had no-one to help me or show me the next step, as it were.

If you’re in this position, or even if you’re still searching for the answers, my advice to you is to speak to someone who is already a Christian, They’ll soon point you in the right direction and then you won’t have to ask, “Am I nearly there?”

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
    (Jeremiah 29 verse 11 N.I.V.)
    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    (Romans 10 verse 9 N.I.V.)


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Parcels From Canada

When I was a child in the 1940s, there were no such things as beefburgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets and no-one owned a home freezer, so shopping had to be done regularly. During the Second World War food was severely rationed in the U.K. and many families often had to go without some of the most basic provisions – things that we take for granted in these affluent days of the 21st century. Ration books were issued and families had to register in order to have one, and the coupons were handed over to the butcher or grocer in order to ensure that no-one was hoarding food.

At this time, there were organisations that arranged food parcels from abroad, and people in Canada and America could be linked with a British family and send the occasional parcel of items which were not available in England. Recipient families had to qualify to receive such parcels and my family was one of those that did. It was probably because my Dad had served in the Auxiliary Fire Service during the Blitz. I think that maybe he was classed as being unfit for military service. I’m sure there was some kind of means test involved, too. But I have no idea how the system worked, or how it was set up. All I remember is the excitement in the house the day a parcel arrived.

We would all gather around the table as Dad opened the box and we looked inside to see what had been included. The box contained dreamed-of luxuries like tea, sugar and coffee packed in little wooden containers, tins of jam and a selection of tinned fruits and sweets. I think the thing Mum liked most of all, though, was the nylon stockings which were always included. That was her treat and no-one else’s. It was a really exciting time and, for a few days following the arrival of the parcel, we had tinned fruit for tea perhaps twice a week instead of only on Sundays.

The donor family lived in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, and they kept in touch with my parents after the war. When they visited England in the early 1950s they called round to the house to look us up. Unfortunately there was no-one home but me and I was forbidden from opening the door to anyone, so they left a note to say they’d called. How sad that we weren’t able to meet them after all their kindness over the years.

These parcels were a free gift from one kind and loving family to people they didn’t even know, and eventually never got to meet.

There is another sort of love available, free, to all. God’s love, which is unconditional. He loves you and me even though He knows all about us and sees all the things we do and hears all the things we say. We might think we’re the bees knees because we don’t commit murders, or steal, or damage people’s property. But we ALL do bad things, called sin, and God still loves us. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live amongst us and teach us the right way to live.

Jesus died on the Cross at Calvary for each and every one of us. That was the price God paid for us to be saved from an eternity of darkness. We who are believers know that we will one day be with Him in Heaven. And Jesus is coming back soon. If you leave it any longer to get to know Him and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour, it may be too late. The Bible tells us quite clearly what will happen when He comes back. Check it out. NOW!

    Brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (Thessalonians 5 verses 1-3)

And we’re told how much God loves us:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3 verse 16)

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3 verse 23)

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14 verse 6)

    (All scriptures taken from the New International Version 1980)


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School Camp

A couple of days ago I was held up in traffic whilst a group of school children boarded their ‘bus to take them to school camp. On the pavement beside the ‘bus was a great pile of rucksacks, bags, tennis racquets, a net of balls and so on.

As I was sitting, patiently waiting to move off, I was reminded of the time I went to school camp back in June1953 when I was eleven years old.

I was living just outside Birmingham in the industrial Midlands, at which time it was a smoky, dirty place with factories belching out the foul-smelling residue of their activities. There were ironworks with their furnaces and gas works where the gas supply for the area was stored, not to mention domestic fires polluting the air. Not a nice place for kids in which to grow up, you will agree, I am sure.

So, every summer just before the end of our final term, the top class of our junior school went to camp located near the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire. This was a really magical place for children such as myself who lived all their lives in the grime of industry.

We travelled in a coach but our luggage consisted not of rucksacks but suitcases. These were often quite small so there was not much room for “additional extras” – not that we had much in those days!!

When we arrived at the camp site we were separated into two groups – boys and girls! The accommodation was a wooden hut in which were beds – but no mattresses! This was all part of the “fun”!. After our first meal we all gathered in a large barn and proceeded to make palliasses for mattresses and pillows. I think by the time we’d finished stuffing our mattresses there was more straw on the floor and in our hair than in the covers! It was at this stage that I realised that we were going to have to rough it somewhat!

During the daytime we would go on rambles, drawing and identifying flowers (no picking allowed!), also bird-watching and all sorts of other nature-related activities. Our days were filled with lots to do and by bedtime we were ready for sleep, regardless of the uncomfortable palliasse!.

We could only have been away a week, but to me it seemed like ages. Some of the girls received food parcels from home and one thoughtful parent also included some shoe polish for her daughter – result, one sponge cake tainted with polish – yeuck!! After “lights out” we would chatter quietly, but this didn’t last long as we were all so tired at the end of each day that we’d soon drop off to sleep.

Even though my memory has dimmed somewhat, there was one incident which has remained in my mind. We went on a walk and all I can remember of the terrain is a long and winding road (idea for a song title?). We walked for a while until the road began climbing; teacher was in front and I was one of the “stragglers”. Child protection and health and safety were things of the future at that time, so there was no adult bringing up the rear. Suddenly a boy behind me fell with quite a crash – he must have tripped over something – but he went down and didn’t appear to be getting up. The group had by this time disappeared around a bend. Decision time. I called out with my little voice but obviously no-one heard me, so I waited until the boy recovered and we decided to stay put. It seemed like forever but eventually the teacher came dashing back, having realised that two of his charges were missing. I was near to tears with relief and so it all ended happily; just a grazed knee and a tear-stained face.

And the same applies to God. We can follow Him, and we might get lost on the Way, but He’ll not leave us lost and forlorn. No matter what we do, He’ll be there whenever we need Him, to dry our tears and mend our broken hearts.

    “Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.”
    (Hebrews 13 verse 5b)
    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
    (Joshua 1 verse 9)