the bucket weekend

Regular readers will know that I have a ‘bucket list‘ of things I want to do in York before we leave. (Which is three weeks ago. Confused? Read this.)

A few weeks ago, I killed three bucket items in one weekend. On the Saturday we enjoyed a day at Newby Hall, celebrating the birthdays of some small friends. Often places like this are a bit devoid of activities for kids, particularly preschoolers – but not Newby Hall. Firstly, we headed to the play area:

2013-06-29 11.56.13Banana boats, sand pit, zip wire – even a boating lake, with dinky little child-size boats:

2013-06-29 12.20.41

After lunch, we made our way to the miniature railway. A small additional fee is charged, but was worth the novelty of a little trip through the grounds:

2013-06-29 15.10.14

Finally, we enjoyed the water feature – several randomly spurting water fountains, in a space designed for kids to run, splash and play! It was a great day, something we would happily do again with the children.

Once our shattered offspring were safely tucked up in bed, we left them with a babysitter and popped off down the road to see our good friends Guy and Kanako. Guy is the head chef of Ambience – Yorkies, if you’ve never been, GO! Kanako cooks amazingly delicious food from her home country, Japan – and often cooks for Ambience’s infamous Japanese nights. It was this which was on my bucket list – we’ve never found a convenient date to go – but Kanako and Guy did one better, by inviting us round for our very own Japanese night! I’ll leave you to imagine the conversation, as it couldn’t be photographed, but here’s the food:

Help-yourself sushi fillings.
Help-yourself sushi fillings.
My favourite - inari sushi - at the top, plus rice and vegetable dishes.
My favourite – inari sushi – at the top, plus rice and vegetable dishes.
2013-06-29 20.16.54
Fried chicken…with soy, garlic and ginger. Mmmm…
Omelette. I think. Good, though.
Omelette. I think. Good, though.
Miso soup.
Miso soup.

Oh my. Words escape.

I’ve been reflecting recently upon the seemingly insignificant moments which lead to strong friendships. Little did I know, when Kanako and her tiny baby walked into the Under 1s group three years ago that she would end up becoming such a good friend. Japan was the instant connector (my parents lived there for many years), but our friendship has gone deeper as we’ve explored faith together, and become members of the same church community. They are such busy, hard-working people, who still manage to make time for friends and family, and I have an awful lot of respect for them.

2013-06-30 17.22.10

The final bucket trip of the weekend was Mass at All Saints North Street. What can I say about it? Probably nothing that you haven’t already predicted I would say, coming from an evangelical, low-church background. It was different, refreshing, contemplative, slightly heady, and an excellent chance to hone my rusty sight-singing skills. It was also a pretty challenging test of liturgical navigation, moving between the service book (which contained most of the liturgy), the music book (which contained music for all the sung bits of liturgy), the service sheet for that week (which contained the special chants for that day), and the hymn book (which contained the words to the hymns). It’s been a while since I read neumes and, being a geeky muso, this bit was kind of fun.

But would I make it my home church? I think you know the answer to that. Whilst the experience, as a one-off, was positive and largely enjoyable, I wonder how the church functions as a community. What goes on in the week? No one spoke to me – and, as the congregation was small and mainly over 60, I imagine I stood out like a salad at McDonald’s. So either everyone else was a visitor too, or they were regulars who didn’t feel it important to welcome a newbie. (I even sat in someone else’s seat – the hackneyed mistake of a visitor in a new church – and was made to know about it, too!) I wondered how this sort of worship experience enhances and inspires the Monday-Saturday of daily Christian living, or whether it is simply a Sunday ritual which has little bearing on reality. Thoughts, anyone?

Overall, an enjoyable bucket weekend. 🙂


6 Replies to “the bucket weekend”

  1. “I wondered how this sort of worship experience enhances and inspires the Monday-Saturday of daily Christian living, or whether it is simply a Sunday ritual which has little bearing on reality.”

    The latter. To be blunt! (Give me some wine and I could go into lots of boring detail!)

    Thanks for the Newby Hall report – I’ve wondered whether it’s worth going and now I see it looks great! Though I’m concerned about the funny man attacking Lois on the train… xxx

  2. Hi Lucy.

    I would be interested to know your take on the sincerity factor? I have been to similar robotic services in tiny churches, with as few as 5 people in the congregation before, yet felt moved by their heartfelt devoted act of worship. Whilst I have also been in much more modern ‘charismatic’ – outreaching churches, yet felt surrounded by hypocrites in their roast clothes, just going through the motions! (I won’t name names in either case).

    Regarding Newby Hall. It is awesome! Well worth a visit Izzy. Lucy didn’t even mention the huge gardens with long grassy stretches, and wooded labyrinth for small children to run around and explore!


  3. Hi Andy,
    Good point. I can relate to what you’re saying about charismatic churches ‘going through the motions’, and certainly didn’t mean to imply that it was a danger of high churches only. I think it was just a way of me saying I don’t have anything startlingly original to say from this experience!
    Re sincerity – it’s difficult to say without seeing how a church (i.e. the congregation) functions during the week. The people at All Saints might be living very godly, generous lives through the week – as might the Christians in their ‘roast clothes’ (?!) in the charismatic churches you mention. So I guess what you’re rightly reminding me of is not to judge based on one service alone!
    Ooh, didn’t find the labyrinth at NH – that’ll be something for next trip!

  4. Good grief! This post just shows how very selfless we have been with our last few play dates…actually playing with the kids and not catching up at all! I knew none of this (except maybe that I knew in advance about dinner with K&G)…roll on next Tuesday evening for actual conversation!

    1. We are all kinds of selfless!! Hi-5 to us!! Actually, lax blogger that I am, these things all happened a very, VERY long ago. Probably before I even knew you. Actually, no, not that bad, but now I recall that they did in fact happen the first weekend that you were away, so that’s probably why there was no catch-up. Badly timed holidays separated us for a month or so, as far as I can remember?! By which time I’d forgotten all about it. Until now.

      And here’s me being rubbish and forgetting about next Tues! It is now in the diary! Hoorah!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s