Dear Friends,
It is a day in March, in what is usually considered to be the season of Spring, however there is snow on the ground, the skies are leaden and the scene in my garden is decidedly monochrome! A few daffodils had the temerity to flower recently and they are bent over by the cold and the snow, their colour barely visible. Somehow, Spring (which seemed to have started a few days ago) is now a long distance away, and the promise of light, warmth and renewal seems a hollow one at a moment such as this.

Dear Friends,

                      How good are you at following directions? Perhaps you are good at reading maps, or at remembering directions, or at giving directions (which can be even more challenging!)… or perhaps not. In truth even those of us who are good at finding our way about will struggle once in a while. Directions are only good if they are precise and in order (and if we have listened when they are given verbally!); a map is only useful if the information is relevant and up to date, and satnavs are only as good as the information that is programmed in – if a road has been closed or is unsuitable for the vehicle that we are driving then there are going to be problems!

Dear Friends,
Today, 11th November, has been notable in Southampton for two reasons. Firstly, at 11am a ceremony of remembrance was held: no surprises there. And secondly, at 5pm, who should arrive in town but Flying Santa!

You can fill in your own reactions as to the timeliness of Santa’s arrival in Southampton, but I must admit some sympathy for him. Because my recent past has also involved a lot of journeying, and I can tell you, it’s not always easy, even without reindeer management.

Dear Friends,
Already this New Year I have had an unusual amount of time to sit and let my mind wander about all over the place!
I don’t know about you but when I’m wandering on a walk I will stop and look at anything that catches my eye and even take a different turning to the one I had planned in advance. This can be really rewarding or a bit scary or even boring… but always a learning experience.

Dear Friends,
As I sit here writing this letter in the middle of May my mind wanders back in time...I know all the jokes about wandering minds, thank you...and I remember what this time of year has meant to me in the past. Maypole dancing as a child and then helping with the same activity at my children’s school later on, lots of family birthdays coming up, long sunny days ahead to go exploring on my bike where the M25 now runs, catching the train to Wimbledon to watch the tennis after school when people used to give away their tickets after tea. Mmmmm.....but I also recall revising and school exams and that awful sick feeling, stopping you eating, that went along with it. I used to worry myself silly as the staff put so much pressure on us to do well or we would be letting the school down!! I never heard a word about my best being good enough and several of my friends were labelled failures from an early age because they found academic work so difficult.