It was disgracefully early for a holiday morning. Actually, it wasn’t. 7am was really quite a respectable time, even taking the hour’s difference into account, seeing as we didn’t have to organise breakfast and I didn’t have to get Dad up, but it was still rather special to feel that the alarm was ringing disgracefully early when it resounded – somewhat muffled resounding, I have to admit as it was still shoved under my pillow in disgust from the previous morning. I woke my sleeping babes, all snuffly under the duvets in their rather aromatic room, and we dressed ourselves in several layers of clothing (most of Smudgelet’s being inside out and back to front as he’s not all that good in the mornings!)

To my amazement, Dad was up and dressed and ready to go too. It seemed a bit lazy going up the road in the car, but I did have a rather heavy accordion to carry, and a huge music stand, and I knew I’d be transporting things home from church afterwards too. Not quite dark, not quite light, disappointingly cloudy but with a few rays just about strong enough to burn their way feebly through, and a good crowd of people assembled on the Rec whose welcome was as warm as any sunshine as we gathered to sing Easter praises in the beauty of our new “Village Doorstep Garden” as the Rec is now.. quite rightly… called.

Playing the music was a bit of a challenge, I must admit, as there was the most bitter of cold winds whipping its way across the lawns and, it seemed, focussing in particular on my fingers. The accordion is, of course, played almost entirely by touch – not good when you have icicles for fingers! I ended up borrowing a Smudgelet and burying my fingers in him 😀 But the singing was rousing enough to cover up for my wrong notes. And I was incredibly proud of my Tiddles who was invited, at short notice, to start off the prayers of thanksgiving. “Dear God, we thank you for the sun, for flowers, for nature. And especially we thank you for your son Jesus rising from the dead. Amen”. And here was his untrusting mother thinking a jumble of made up words would come tumbling out which didn’t make any sense at all (as sometimes happens when he tries to pray “formally”) He was delighted to have been asked.

Breakfast was.. well, as always breakfast was delicious and far far too much – enough to keep us going all day. In the “new” church the kitchen facilities are superb and it made a usually fantastic breakfast into something even more special. It’s hard to believe how few people actually turned up for it and a shame that so much had to go to waste. First a choice of a dozen cereals (now adorning our cereal cupboard as we offered the left overs a good home!) and fresh baked rolls with honey or marmalade, accompanied by fresh juice. Then a full breakfast with two sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and beans. And finally hard boiled eggs and toast, an Easter egg and tea or coffee. Mmmmmmm….. we could hardly move afterwards, but the exercise of washing up all those pans helped burn a bit of it off. And Jack.. that first little Easter egg was for you – and lovely it was to feel the soft silky chocolate melting on my tastebuds!

It was a quick turnaround, then, to get back to church in time for the morning service. The service was less than I might have expected – a lovely chap leading worship, but so incredibly nervous that he was at a loss to keep things together. And not helped by the congregation. I ask you – forty people who were, for the most part, long-standing church attenders, not knowing the response to “Alleluia, He is Risen!” Three times the preacher tried it, and three times it fell apart in a total rabble of random noises. I felt as though I was the only one there actually saying “He is risen indeed, Alleluia”. A fantastic children’s address, focussing on the story of Barrabas which was, for me, something totally new… and for once Smudgelet came out with a well-thought-out answer (although he blotted his copybook by immediately losing interest in the whole children’s address and using his finger to mirror the movements of the second hand of the clock – which rather disconcerted the poor preacher further!)

No Easter Eggs for the Smudgelets this year.. well, not at first. They’d been warned that the Easter Bunny, who usually delivers to a tent they build and decorate in their bedroom, would not actually be able to get in the room at all unless they made some effort to tidy it. Smudgelet declared that he couldn’t be bothered and left Tiddles to do it. Tiddles in turn got distracted by Smudgelet’s determined playing and wandered off to join him. Three warnings, three times ignored….. and the Easter eggs ended up waiting until I actually saw them doing something helpful of their own accord. Tiddles earned his immediately by offering (and doing) the washing up at church – even the greasy pans! – and by helping with the dinner. Smudgelet needed the prompting of seeing Tiddles get his basket – whereupon tidying the bedroom suddenly developed a rather unexpected appeal 😉

The afternoon was spent having our first experience of making trifle – a favour for M who was exhausted from cooking all those breakfasts and had a dessert to make for the lunches being served at the church today. I thought it was the least we could do. And great fun it was too.

The Lord is risen – He is risen indeed – Yippeeeeeeeeee 😀