The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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June 2017


Judy East

It’s hard, during May, to see beyond the Spring Fair - it takes over our lives and the final week is spent anxiously watching the weather.  It was particularly alarming this year as the 8 week drought emphatically ended a few days before the fair and I can’t say it was an entirely dry day but what rain there was didn’t seem much to dampen anyone’s spirits. 

But now for June - summer has arrived with its usual mixed bag of weather.  Is there going to be a drought?  Or a flood?  Both?

(I have to say that the weather has been kind to us for the last two Tea Services and we’ve enjoyed sitting outside with our tea and cake after the services in April and May - if you or any of your friends would enjoy a quiet service and friendly cuppa why not drop in to the next one - June 11th at 3pm? - and if the sun continues to shine on us we may have tea outside again.)

On Friday 9th at 6pm we have a talk on Thomas Frederick Tout, who I confess I had never heard of until I was asked to find his grave (It’s quite prominently placed behind the railings in the ABG) so I will hope to be at the talk to find out more about another interesting resident.

The churchyard and additional burial ground always look nice at this time of year - a few lingering bluebells perhaps, even the odd primrose that didn’t realise it were supposed to be a spring flower - but the roses are coming on and bramble flowers portend a good crop of blackberries later.  The Grounds Maintenance Team from Camden were mightily impressed with our blackberry bushes and have NO intention of cutting them back till after the fruiting season!   We also had a curious conversation about owls which some of you may be able to help me with. We have owl boxes and they asked if we had owls. I said we did and then the conversation ran something like this:

“What kind of owls?”  “I don’t know. It looks like an owl.”   “What kind of noise do they make?” Well, what kind of noise does an owl make?  If it doesn’t go Too-wit too-woo I probably wouldn’t know it was an owl so  “It sounds like an owl”.  If anyone’s seen them - and there’s sometimes one in the tree outside the crypt in the evenings - please tell me.  I think it’s a tawny owl but I’m not committing myself.   I’m fairly sure we’ve got bats too but I decided not to mention that.

Open Garden Squares Weekend 17-18 June
We may not see any owls but over this weekend we will throw open our churchyards to all comers and really hope for fine weather.  It was a great success last year - why not come along and explore?  Bring your friends for Morning Coffee, Afternoon tea, a stroll round the graveyards. You might find something you’ve never seen before - at the very least you can inspect Tout’s grave!.

We should make it better known that in the ABG, up towards the  columbarium, is the grave of Evelyn Underhill.  To mark the anniversary of her death on 15th June Barry Orford has written about her further on in this issue. 

Refugee Week begins on 19th and you can read more about working with refugees further on in this issue, although as the London Churches Refugee Fund Report is only just out we’ll hold that over for July.   The Living Book Club on 4th June also takes Refugees as its subject.

Also in Refugee Week at the  Royal Museum  Greenwich ........
For centuries the sea has carried those seeking refuge towards the promise of a better life.  In the midst of the largest humanitariam emergency of recent history, they ask what can we learn from the past, look to the future and examine what is happening now in the ongoing immigration crisis.    See their website for details of the week’s events week

This month’s concert features The Community Choir, the Junior Choir and the Hampstead Players who are collaborating on another of their popular joint ventures  - “Summer Nights” on Saturday 24th at 7.30pm. 

And the following day (Sunday 25th) we will, sadly, be saying goodbye to Diana and Simon Young at a lunch party in the church (or outside if, hopefully, it’s fine). After cherishing us through the Interregnum Diana is going off to run her own parish. Much more will be said about this later so I’ll leave it at that for the moment. 

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