Newsletter no. 186, April 2022

I was on my way to the shops to meet a friend for a cup of coffee, when a stranger pressed a white rose into my hand, saying, ‘It’s my birthday and I’m buying flowers to give away.’ (I thought: He’s not local! He speaks good English, but he’s from the Middle East somewhere! This is not the typical beggar’s approach, but . . .)

He said, ‘I’m 49 today.’ I respond, ‘I’m 88. May I buy you a cup of coffee?’ He insisted instead on buying me and my friend coffee and vastly over-paying with a tenner. I know that the owner of this particular café runs a tab for one or two locals who need a helping hand now and again, so I suggested that the change be held over for the next person who needs help.

Now, my first reaction was to give and not to receive, but a moment’s thought made me realise that at that particular point in time this man needed to give, and to have his gift accepted. I’m glad I accepted. I still don’t know why he went on his St Nicholas style spree. I don’t know if he could afford it or not. I don’t know why he chose this area to distribute his gifts. I checked with the flower shop owner later and found her packaging up dozens of single tulips which he paid for and collected while I was there. I do hope no one refused his generosity. I’ll probably never know his story but I think of his actions as candles lit in the darkness of these present days.

You will remember that I sent the mss of MURDER BY ESTATE AGENT of in good time, and Wham! Bam! I was told I’d have to think up a completely different title as the American market have a different name for estate agents. The silly thing is that I knew this, really. I mean, how daft can you get? I sent in some suggestions which might work and am now waiting for their verdict.

                                                   Simnel cake, anyone?

The eleven balls on a traditional Simnel Cake are meant to represent the eleven apostles (minus Judas, of course). I did some research because I couldn’t remember the names of more than seven . . . which led me to wonder about replacing the old with something new. In other words, should we now commemorate more recent saints instead of those whose names we no longer recall? This story will be out in the Easter edition of the Methodist Recorder.

In these dark days I feel my job is to write something to make you smile. So instead of the usual serious story, I’ve written The Adventures of Max. Access it here.

                                                         Parsley & Posy

. . . are nowadays spoilt for choice as the garden wakes up to the sun. And here they are to be found with the grape hyacinths (muscari) which are doing very well this year.

A blessing on all those who can accept a gift with grace.

Veronica Heley