17th March 2020
Dear fellow members and friends
We are in a period of intimidating change in our global, our national and our local society. Currently we regard much of it as very necessary but none the less unwelcome and difficult. However let us try to be positive.
I enjoy this season of lengthening days, milder weather, anticipated holidays – well at least normally – and the wonderful season of Easter, sometimes referred to as the business end of the ecclesiastical calendar. We are enriched by the disciplines of Lent, by our meditations of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and by the victory, cheer and assurance of Easter Day.
Hallelujah. Christ is risen. My Easter prayer for you is:-
In the mystery of our faith,
Touch our lives with the truth of the first Easter.
Help us to know we are never alone.
Help us to know goodness is forever greater than evil:
That light overcomes darkness.
Help us to know that your Spirit is deep within us.
Help us to know that this is the day you have made
And that, with all your people,
We can truly rejoice in it.
A FEW MORE LINES FOR THE NEWSLETTER
Dear fellow members
As we will not likely meet together again for some time here is a little and completely voluntary programme for personal devotion each day – or amended to each week. Find a quiet and maybe a private space and say your own personal prayer - @4pm each day. If most of us do this it will become (almost) a congregational act of worship.
Try to make time to read one chapter of Proverbs afterwards – 31 chapters so completing the book once each month.
Regards and blessings
Mrs. Margaret (Marie) Thirde,
at home on Saturday 1st February 2020
Marie and her husband John joined Dundee Congregational Church in September 2004 and immediately became very valued and active members of our church family. Her vivacious, artistic and talented personality endeared her to all of us in many capacities and it was with distress her health deteriorated and we were witness to her difficulties throughout her later years. It was a blessing that she passed away at home, as she would have wanted, because of her reluctance to consider any medical intervention and her wish to be at home with John and with her family visiting and looking out for them both.
Marie was born and educated in Dundee and her artistic talents were given valuable expression with her superb dressmaking skills. Wedding dresses were her particular speciality and these she also designed sometimes for Draffens which was one of Dundee`s most prestigious department stores - sadly long since ceasing to exist. This dressmaking expertise was a talent which benefited her family, friends and many grateful customers across the city. She also enjoyed varied employment in other fields which therefore gave rein to her wide spectrum of interests. Particularly she loved her times helping in Braithwaites much loved Coffee Shop, and this brought her lively and charming personality to the fore for the benefit of her customers. I would imagine many of these would leave the shop not only with their coffees or teas but with a smile on their faces after being looked after by Marie and sharing a laugh with her.
On 20th May 1961 Marie married John Thirde and this precious relationship lasted till the day she died. Family life blossomed with the arrival of Gillian in 1967 and her brother Fraser in 1972. There then followed the happy natural events of their marriages in the due course of time and the wonderful arrival of Marie and John`s grandchildren who brought immense joy to these special grandparents. Bruce and Anna Kerr and the younger Daisy, Heidi and Isaac Thirde and everything they did became the focal point of Marie and John`s lives at this stage. The years have now gathered and Bruce is nearing 21 and is at Glasgow University and Anna is nearly 17 and at a vital stage of serious exams at the High School of Dundee. She is a seriously gifted musician being a lovely pianist and violinist and she had recorded “I Giorni” by Ludovico Einaudi exquisitely played by her to welcome us in to the crematorium and towards the end of the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of her much loved grandmother. How poignantly this gave honour to the memory of Marie for all stages of her life and indeed touched every member of the large congregation present. Our Minister Rev Alan Livingstone gave a very moving and personal eulogy covering the life of Marie mentioning precious happy moments and events throughout her long life.
To say Marie had varied interests is no exaggeration as she loved her indoor bowls, badminton, the Church Guild and very importantly our Drama Club. Wonderful memories of Marie`s inimitable stage presence abound among all of us lucky to be present for so many of her hilarious performances. She could guarantee to cheer us all and her fun-loving antics and stage demeanour were utterly priceless. It was most opportune that the current drama club members were to perform in our church hall the day after her funeral service and this being the case she was remembered with deep affection and respect on this special night. Many were the pretty hand-made greetings cards which Marie used to make for sale in the church and she never lost her attention to artistic detail – for the benefit of others.
Marie always said she “never wanted to be a bother to anyone” but she has left behind so many happy memories of the person she was and our heartfelt condolences we send to dear John, Gillian and Ian, Fraser and Melanie, along with every member of their families.
Tuesday 7th February 2020: Sitting Exercises - Marguerite Ruffle
A very good turnout for our first meeting of the year – 18 of our members attending.
Marguerite was prepared with chairs set out in a circle and when we were all settled in our chairs and sitting comfortably we started our exercises beginning with head and neck, and working down to shoulders, arms, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet; all at an easy pace and accompanied by some very catchy tunes from I think 80s ‘top of the pops’ which most of us knew and were able to sing along. To finish off and relax we played a simple game of ‘catch’ with balls of various sizes. And finally, we had a very welcome cup of tea. Thank you again Marguerite for helping to get us all in trim for Spring and Summer. It looks like this will be an annual event so please keep the first Tuesday in February free for next year.
Tuesday 25th February 2020: Kilimanjaro - Carolyn Johnston
In October 2017 Caroline was working for Macmillan Cancer Support and was given the opportunity of a lifetime to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak which is 19,341 feet, the tallest single standing mountain in the world. She explained the history of the mountain emerging from a stratovolcano which is a conical volcano built up of many layers of lava. Weather conditions are often harsh and difficult for the people who lived on the southern and eastern slopes, but they manage to eke out a living. She was full of praise for the porters all local from the surrounding area, not only did they support the group during their climb but looked after them whilst on the summit. They set up the camps each night and prepared their breakfast and evening meal. The trekking days were long and hard and the camping was rough but at the end of each day the porters were organized and had the evening meal ready for the weary trekkers and after a good night’s rest and breakfast they were all set to continue the climb. They had to carry only personal items and 2 litres of water every day and the porters transported the rest. The last day was the longest trek but it was well worth it when they reached the summit. The views were amazing and unforgettable. An experience Caroline and the rest of the trekkers would never forget. Thank you so much Caroline for sharing this with us.
Wednesday 11th March 2020: The Dee Ukes (a Ukulele Band)
with Liz Crawford
Firstly, my apologies for getting the name wrong. I had them on the syllabus as The Bee Ukes – sorry. There were 12 in the group and there was a mixture of instruments which included ukuleles, a banjolele and a kazoo all making a wonderful sound playing the following selection; Old Time medley, Dundee songs, Scottish songs, Elvis medley, Rock, Country and Western, Tom Jones hits and a special song Ukes in Blue written by two members of the band. We were all stamping our feet, clapping our hands and waving them in the air and hand jiving. So, you can see we had an excellent afternoon’s entertainment. Liz Crawford sent me a lovely note thanking us for being such a good audience and the excellent afternoon tea.
Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus our Guild meetings for the rest of the syllabus have been cancelled. Hopefully we will be able to resume in October for the start of our next session.
OUR DRAMA CLUB ENTERTAINMENT
on Thursday 20th February 2020
This was a cold, wild and wet night outside but regardless of the weather a full audience made the effort to be present for this special evening and we were certainly not disappointed. The atmosphere in our church hall was one of friendship, extreme good humour and well deserved appreciation of the stalwart troupe of amateur entertainers so ably directed in front of us all by our own dynamo Marguerite Ruffle.
Starting with a one-act comedy entitled `Death Rehearsal` we were immediately thrust into the mayhem of a very complex scenario covering two events at the same time. Firstly we had a hilarious `cast` of a thriller/comedy when you knew everything in the plot would go wrong, and at the same time we were presented with the actors themselves in their own personas which were equally topsy turvy. This meant every member of the cast had to portray two separate characters – with some side-splitting wigs and costumes for the `thriller` depicted. Our wonderful team expressed brilliantly the attitudes of no less than 6 cousins all vying to be on the receiving end of a deceased uncle`s house and supposed fortune. Add a crooked lawyer to this mix and shady caretakers of the uncle`s house and we have the picture. The final stage moment when the performance `director` (one of the `cousins`) shot every other cousin one after the other was cleverly masterminded and acted by Marguerite whose direction and production was a class act from farcical start to finish. What an achievement!
It was a delight to welcome newcomers Yvonne Hill and Irene Stephen to the cast and both ladies made very well judged characterisations which added to the acting talents of our drama club friends. Thank you again to our young Alexander McMichael who always brightens up any presence on stage with all his talents to add to his welcome youthful presence – and his undoubted patience with the rest of the crew!. As an appreciative audience we loved watching Marguerite, Irene Cox, Shirley Tait, Alex McMichael and Phyllis Miller as this very successful performance gave much laughter in all the right places – and perhaps not always the right places! Heartfelt applause resounded throughout the church hall as the curtain closed to honour the nearly grisly finale.
THE NEXT STAGE WAS A SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT
After a welcome interval, with the warmth of hot tea or coffee and biscuits to reward us for leaving cosy firesides, we were very lucky indeed to be entertained quite royally by our stalwart team. We were regaled with songs, monologues, comedy duos and much else, superbly accompanied by musician Paul Fitzpatrick who with Alexander had us rolling in the aisles, so to speak, one moment, and then with poignant tears in our eyes the next.
Marguerite`s introduction to this stage of our evening`s entertainment was her admirably faultless rendering of Gilbert & Sullivan`s “Model of a Very Modern Major-General”(suitably garbed) which set the tone for more treats ahead. Stella and Ella (in reality Margaret Eddy and Jane Campbell) gave us two hilarious skits in their own inimitable style. A be-kilted Alex McMichael tickled us all, (no pun intended I hasten to add) with his rendering of “A bumble bee stung me well above the knee” leaving us all in stitches of laughter. Phyllis presented as a very well dressed `fairy` indeed. Shirley`s recitation from a so called ‘Dundonese Granny’ was so warmly received that I am to share this with our readers for further enjoyment.
Our entire thespian team including Evelyn Cox, Katrina Malcolm and Steve McCluskey, along with front of house helpers and tea providers can take a well deserved bow for the enthusiastic applause which ended the evening before we all ventured out into the cold again, but with more of a spring in our steps and smiles on our faces. Unforgettable.
(by Ella Heaney)
Meh granny never had the things
that maist folk hae the day
She never saw a T.V. set
or heard the tranny play
She never yaised a microwave
eye level grills an things,
She used tae yaise an auld black range
And twa gas burning rings
Meh granny never ate kebabs
or Chinese kerry oots
She never drank a can o coke
or tasted kiwi fruits
She never smelt the curried scent
o` spicy vindaloo
And she never (though she stayed 3 up)
had stairheid barbecues
Meh granny never wore “t” shirts
no even in her teens
She never wore a mini-skirt
or frayed and torn jeans
She never had her hair in spikes
or dyed it green or blue
An she never had her airms tattooed
or had a sniff of glue
Meh granny never had a hoose
wi mod cons like we hae
The kitchen was her living room
her loaby her hallway
Her carpets were but clootie rugs
that she made piece by piece
An her vacuum was a besom heid
that worked by elbow grease
Alas meh granny crossed the vale
over to the other side
She`s sairly missed, but none the less
that`s where she`ll hae tae bide
Hoo`ever should she get to hear
O` a the things we`ve got
I`m shair she`ll shed her heavenly wings
and come back like a shot
Thank you Shirley for your highly amusing rendering of this poem in genuine Dundonese vernacular – a delight for our ears when so perfectly enunciated in our local dialect.
NEWS OF CAITLIN FINNAN
I am glad to report that this clever and intrepid medical student managed to return via Mexico safe and well from her secondment to Belize on 21st March – just as their borders closed because wonderfully there were no cases of coronavirus in Belize at that point. It is indeed an irony that Caitlin leaves her spell of experience in Belize to return to a country in total lockdown as it copes with such a dangerous pandemic. She has loved this very special opportunity which started with a 48hour journey to Belize`s capital Belmopan. She shadowed a G.P. in a small clinic for the duration of her stay and found health care very expensive with specialist care only available in neighbouring countries.There can be large outbreaks of infectious disease and of course mosquitos are problematic – but so far no coronavirus! Caitlin managed to observe some of the exotic animals and wonder at the geographical beauty of this part of the world while appreciating the friendliness shown to her wherever she went. Attending an interdenominational church - Lifenet Church“ has been a rewarding experience with its theatre resembling interior. Belize has a diverse ethnic make-up comprising Afro-Caribbean, Latin American and even Mennonite, and this church welcomed all regardless of background. We were kindly sent a lovely selection of pictures including Caitlin beside the church and even an iguana enjoying a banana.
Unfortunately we are not able to welcome her back to our church because of the present circumstances but we wish her well as she resumes her studies at this difficult time.