Welcome... here are the answers to the quiz on the Baker's 2005 Christmas card. Why 'Double points' this year? Why not?
1 What's your memory of Brother Roger of Taizé?
2 How long to complete a lap of Monaco in a motorhome?
3 Was the tower of Pisa pushed, or did it jump?
4 Did Andrew swim the Atlantic, or just paddle in it?
5 Should Matthew go for grade 8 drum destruction?
6 Is Sophie allowed to smile when singing?
7 Is rowing good for the tummy?
8 Suggest ways of dealing with muttering council members.
9 Church musicians should offer services for free – true or false?
10 Have the Fisherfolk endorsed the use of the name ‘Fisher Folk'?
11 Is decapitation the best option for people with Ménière's?
12 The people of Dorchester are just nice - or truly honourable?
13 Should the name Baker's Dozen be subject to 8.25% inflation?
Sophie's now added a Bass guitar to her collection of instruments as well as 'cello… and a plastic card. Screams of delight when she has a positive balance at the end of the month! GCSE year started with Maths at the end of year 10, and she's being strict with herself, too.
Matthew played drums with two feet and his right arm for a whole two days after his collar bone was broken. It was too much for him and played with all limbs despite the pain. Breaking-Point supported Tyneside band The Steels in September (Sophie wanted a special 16th birthday party) so we organised a gig to raise dosh for United Gigs. More pics and gig dates linked from the United Gigs website.
Andy was asked to head up the boy's section in the church choir, having received his Dean's award. This comes as a request for prayer… for all the poor lads he looks after. When Andy sings we can almost hear him, as long as the music is turned down – or off. 19/20 in a piece of English was a welcome result for one who struggles to say much out loud; hope prevails continuously.Sophie made it to Greenbelt this year, staying with a friend, so Andy went with Dad and stayed with the friend's family.
The Grand Tour; ‘take a pew'
A week at Beaumont-sur-Sarthe (€11 per night for five, two tents and motorhome, electricity and five star facilities) provided the perfect rest to start the Grand Tour. Fresney-sur-Sarthe reminded us of Knaresborough (castle, river, quiet) – we will return again. Our lap of Le Mans in just 30 minutes was put down to getting lost half way around.
Two nights at the Gagnière's Centre Chrétien near Nimes included a fab YF concert; a delight to be able to provide green room facilities to the band and families (are gazebos available in other colours?).
Delighted to be welcomed by the Musset family while camping at Cluny, seeing Brother Roger on the Sunday; we were unaware of his death two days later until our arrival home. Such extremes of worship, joy and pain all in a month. God smiles and weeps at the same time.
Deeply grateful to Adrian and Clair for help with perfect swing back pews allowing youngsters to lean over the balcony after dinner.
The magnificent Baker bus is now up for sale, having served us well for four summers. Many here tell us we can't sell it – it's a feature of the environment (fortunately it's not listed). We already have a camel or two and a palm tree for a Trafic or even, perhaps, a Combo Tour - both would be a more economical replacement.
Harrogate and beyond
We saw the rare announcement that a local church had torn itself down, sold the land to the council who built a roundabout on Skipton Road to ease traffic congestion; the church was rebuilt on the roundabout, so worshippers had to dodge the traffic. The full news story – with further pictures – can be viewed on the famous Churches Together website News Archive; scroll down to 1 April.
A local church offered the proceeds of the sale of a house to support local ecumenical projects under the name Church House Trust. Its launch has brought interesting requests – funds for the church roof, of course, and one rather exciting project. More next year, perhaps, on this one.
Deborah Wearing's book Forever Today was published in January; many will have seen the ITV documentary “The man with the seven second memory”. Remarkable love story – and highly recommended.
Our house sitters this year included a family (whom we haven't yet met) who want to come back in 2006, despite breaking down and being stranded in Yorkshire for a week. That's the second family to blow a head gasket on their way to Harrogate , so, please check your car radiator before calling on us.