What are you doing in 'lockdown'?

During lockdown and ongoing restrictions, people are discovering, and re-discovering things they love to do. Send us an email about the things you’re up to, what keeps you going and what makes you smile. 

During the summer we visited Jill's home town, Beverley (complete with cows in the carpark) and ended up in a 20th Anniversary Bargain Hunt Auction complete with a 'host of socially distanced experts'. It was great fun! we were caught up in the bidding and I ended up buying a giant magnifying glass and an 'in need of restoration' bird cage/trinket box which plays the tune from "Love Story"... costing £45 & £75 respectively... they are currently looking for a good home, along with me, as  Jill says I'm never doing the shopping again... job done!😊 (The programmes were broadcast in Oct/Nov; check out catch up on iPlayer on Shrewsbury 10 & 11)


Luke thought the Rectory needed some knew life! So we searched the whole North East (and I mean 'whole' of it) to find two young guinea pigs. Eventually, we heard of some being released for sale at Byker, Pets at Home. Luke, Jill and Bethany went across an hour early to make sure they got first sight of them. They were over joyed to bring home Hamilton, Lafayette... named after the characters from Luke's favourite Musical "Hamilton". Left to right, is Hamilton, Luke's... Lafayette, Jill's and on the end, mine, George ... I felt left out, and promptly went the next day to get the last in the shop! 


Carole Dixon, our Authorised Pastoral Assistant and Safeguarding Officer has been knitting a new angel everyday over Lockdown lockdown period. It has become a reflective and spiritual discipline as she creates a host of 'safe-guardian' angels to be passed on when the right time comes, and perhaps used on our Christmas Tree in December? Angels are messengers from God, and these angels remind us of the message that we are never alone and are always held in God's loving arms. Great job Carole.


Many of you know that Jim Jameson updates and looks after our memorial book in church. He is an excellent calligrapher and has kindly agreed to undertake a PCC request to provide a new 'roll call' of rectors. The existing lists are printed out on paper and hang in the baptistry.Unfortunately they have deteriorated over time. Jim has agreed to use his skills to provide new copies which will replace the paper printed ones which in turn will be archived. The photo shows a small part of his work to date; great job Jim!


'Lock down didn't keep my hair down'

With each successive day of the lockdown my hair continued to grow, to get out of hand, to become unruly and difficult. I tried brushing it this way and that, at one point I seemed to acquire a 60's persona, followed quickly by a 70's long and lank look! After the second month, I took to wearing my 'beanie'... both inside and out ... a hat which made many a special guest appearance at numerous Zoom and Team meetings. My hair was getting me down, I almost despaired when it turned (seemingly over night) into a 'mullet cut!' People stopped, stared and pointed at me ... yes, even more than normal. Every day was a bad 'hair day'.


I'd anticipated that the day would soon come when barbers, salons and hairdressers would be able to return to their much need 'craft'. So I sent a grovelling text, in advance, asking that I might be given an appointment when the time arrived. Well, that day finally came around... I had not been forgotten. A wonderful day... the 5th July when order and diginity was restored. Thank you to all the staff at Urban Concept it is much appreciated; along with the care and attention you've given to ensure the safety of your customers. Thank you. Barry.


‘Creative Crafting for Age UK’
Ann Wilson, our very own ‘creative crafter’ writes ‘In lockdown I have been knitting and crocheting little hats for Innocent Smoothies Big Knit campaign. The hats are used by innocent smoothies on their individual bottles of smoothies, for every hat sent, Innocent give 25p to Age UK. once finished, hats can be sent direct to Innocent but I usually hand mine in to my local Age UK as then money from the hats come directly to them.  my aim is to beat last years total of 150 hats. Any one wanting to knit some hats  can find lots of patterns on the Innocent Big Knit web site but a simple pattern is, Cast on 28 stitches, knit for two rows then knit in stocking stitch for 12 rows. Next row knit two together along row (14sts). Next row Purl two together along row (7sts) Cut yarn leaving about a 10cm length and draw through remaining sts. Pull to tighten and sew up side seam. decorate with a pom pom or leave plain.’
Thanks Ann ... which end of the knitting needle do I use?! Barry

 'Spaced out in lockdown'

Anne Robertson, one our Churchwarden writes ‘While I’m not on furlough, I do have long weekends and evenings when I can’t go out and about, so I’ve had more time to spend on one of my hobbies - Metal Earth miniature models. They are a bit like airfix models but made of metal, and without the need for glue or paint. Each finished model in my collection is no more than 2 inches high. Next on my list is a gold Dalek! The only downside is that they are so small, dusting them is nigh-on impossible as you can see from the pictures.

'Cards of Hope' 

You'll have seen the fabulous artwork and supportive messages created by Messy Church members. With their permission, we thought it would be good to turn them into cards... with pictures on the front and messages inside.


We hope to send them out to members and supporters who are not 'on-line' so that they can feel encouraged and keep connected with St Mary's. We already have a preliminary list  of who we may post them to, but don't be shy, let us know of anyone you think might benefit from receiving a card. Simply Click here to send an email to our Parish Office. Or why not print them out for posting, or send them on to share them with the people you know, and give someone a big smile today? Just go to our News page to find the downloads. Click here. With best wishes from Barry & Jill.


Hi, I’ve started to cycle round delivering our ‘Cards for Hope’. They are designed by our Messy Church children, they contain a special message and aim to raise a big smile. The ones being sent out are going to people we think are not on-line or simply appreciate the personal touch. The second batch will be delivered soon.


If you know someone who might benefit from a card let us know. By the way, I’ve taken to wearing hats and helmets whenever possible to control my wild and ever growing hair... I’ll be first in the hairdressers after lockdown. If you look closely, you’ll see hair sticking out at the sides... Jill has given me a new name,Tufty!

'God's Rainbow' (Gen: 9:13)

Jill has been enjoying knitting Rainbows and giving them to family and friends. She thought you might like to have a go? This little knitted rainbow is quick and easy. It is made as a circle from the outside in and then folded in half when finished. Made with oddments of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet double knitting yarn. 3mm single pointed needles were used.  It is about 8cm at the widest when finished. You will also need a little toy stuffing. Key: k – knit. st – stitch. tog-together. 

Rainbow – Make 1

With red,   cast on 88 sts,    Knit 1 row,    Next: (k6, k2tog) to end (77 sts)

Change to orange,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k5, k2tog) to end (66 sts)

Change to yellow,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k4, k2tog) to end (55 sts)

Change to green,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k3, k2tog) to end (44 sts)

Change to blue,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k2, k2tog) to end (33 sts)

Change to indigo,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k1, k2tog) to end (22 sts)

Change to violet,   Purl 1 row,   Next: (k2tog) to end (11 sts)

Draw thread through the remaining stitches and pull tight. 

Fold the piece in half. Sew down the row ends of the rainbow and add a little toy stuffing to the centre. Then sew the red edges together.

'Treats for Streets'

It is wonderful to hear about the things people are doing to help others at this time. Susan Lister writes:


'I''ve just taken delivery today of some material, so I'm going to have a go with several others at making scrubs to be used in the community.  


I've also made 'Lockdown  treats' for our neighbours! I make something different every weekend as a treat for our neighbours. They are greatly appreciated!!'


'Mollie and Joseph's garden adventure'

Mollie & Jospeh are members of our Messy Church have had an exciting time. They’ve been making a vegetable plot in the garden, and have set up tents and enjoyed their very first night undercanvas! They look lovely, warm and snug. Real ‘adventurers’ in the making!

'A Musical Applause for Front Line Workers'

A call went out to the Community Music Whickham & Swalwell members to join with the National Youth Orchestra on a Friday evening  at 5pm by going outside the front door to play Ode to Joy in support of all Key Workers. Not wanting to be seen,  Jill crept out... took her flute and music stand and started playing... I managed to get a video & snap shot! Sadly, Jill wouldn't let me share her music clip with you... and I have to say it was good too... maybe next time? However, Asia came up trumps with a lovely clip of her own playing Ode to Joy. Just click on 'Download' below, to view.


Oh and by the way, I did hear that a well known local soprano sang Ode to Joy from  the steps of the surgery whilst observing all social distancing rules and regs. I didn't get a clip of that either! Well done to Asia and everyone who took up the challenge, and for raising spirits. 


Asia playing Ode to Joy
MP4 Video/Audio File 6.4 MB

'A Magnificent Easter Garden'

Jill Thornton has always designed and constructed the Easter Garden for Church, and the 'closing of the churches' did’nt prevent her from doing so this year. She began to design and build a fantastic Easter Garden at home. The empty cross of Jesus, flanked either side by the crosses of the thieves, stands proud on top of the green hill and is complemented by the empty tomb... proclaiming the triumph of the Resurrection. Jill said she felt inspired to have a go. Nothing can stop Easter! Not even lockdown!


'Kindness Goes a Long Way'

Joan Maughan, writes 'In common with many people I am house bound and too old to volunteer so I am knitting squares to make into blankets. These are made via Inner Wheel and will be sent to Africa. You can use double knitting wool, any colour but not white as this indicative of mourning in many countries. Commence on number eight or four millimetre needles and cast on three knit one row. Slip first stitch as this makes a good edge when sowing the squares together and to increase knit in front and back on next stitch, continue to increase every row until you have forty two then start decreasing on every row remembering to slip first stitch then knit two together until you have three stitches. Knit one row and then cast off. If you have  no one to stitch up get in touch. Good luck, Joan M. (0191) 452 9942.