Paddington's Pilgrimage to Woodley

Sunday 1st July

I have made it over from Twyford into Woodley. It was lucky I had my wellies on when fording the river Loddon, but it was a bit hot today in my duffel coat! Here's me just arrived at Christ Church for a selfie in front of their notice board - I am told all the famous bloggers start with this shot. Here's me posing in front of their famous millennium banner - I think my hat clashes with the reds and pinks - I should have stood further along in the green section I guess...
I arrived in time for their evening service but they were still doing the washing up from the morning. Luckily I wasn't too tired to lend a paw. Then they made me stand on the lectern and say hello to the congregation and explain how I am travelling around the URC Wessex Synod and about the two burning questions I am posing to each church about how they deal with youngsters.

Monday 2nd July

I had a bit of lie in and arrived late for Quiet Spaces. However the kind lady relit the candle and allowed me some time meditating over the lovely picture of a garden. BTW I have taken my badges off as they were too distracting. I was in time for Tea With Toddlers where one of the toddlers made me tea in a small bear-sized cup. I managed to do this jigsaw of one of those red London buses that go near Mr Brown's house. I then visited a group of ladies who said they were making lace for baby bonnets - it looked really complicated!
I have just discovered there are two URC churches in Woodley. This one is Woodley Airfield Church but it does not have a building - they meet at the CofE Primary School. This is on the old airfield where a flyer called Douglas Bader famously crashed - so famous it was in a movie! Outside the school below their sign they have this glass case with lots of men in it - they are all about the same size as me, but they don't look like the get out much - nor eat enough marmelade sandwiches!
About once a fortnight they have a special service called "Monday People" - on a Monday evening and for special people, their carers and many of the church too. They gave me a special chair at the front and I learnt to say prayers using sign language. We also did some singing and learnt all about a chap called Paul and the postcards he sent from his travels around the Med. Outside the school building they have an old London bus! I will have to tell Mr Brown about this and ask him if he recognises it. It seems they now use it as a library and, unlike me, never goes anywhere. I am told I am coming to meet the children at school later in the week.

Tuesday 3rd July

On three mornings a week Christ Church hosts the Rainbow Cafe in their lower hall. So I went along after the weekly prayer group to check it out. Their tables are brightly covered and decorated with flowers, but no matter how hard I read the menu I could not find any mention of marmelade sandwiches. They let me sit on the counter and help people place their orders, whilst I studied the rack of recipe cards for some really tasty soups. They said I misbehaved and I was sorry that I could not help with the washing up or something more useful...
I was told Christ Church has a monthly quiz club and a monthly games club, and also runs a Countdown tournament once a year. Unfortunatley none is on this week, so I learnt how to play Go in the Rainbow Cafe while we waited for their management meeting. After the Rainbow Cafe meeting I was taken to a simply wonderful OXFAM bookshop in the precinct. The very helpful young lady, who seemed to know about bears, tried to find some of my own books, but they had all sold out. I had to make do with books about some of my cousins!

Wednesday 4th July

Wednesday was a quiet day, my only activity was joining Boys' Brigade in the evening. At Anchors we played Car Crash and I managed to win a game! Then we had a picnic - still no marmelade sadly. Anchors is run by the minister here, Martyn. He says he remembers me from the meeting that launched my pilgrimage, though I didn't remember him. The Juniors also had a picnic too, but the boys are really rather boisterous and rushed around a lot, so I wasn't able to get a photo with them. However here's a another photo of the Anchors.

Thursday 5th July

On Thursday Nancy from the Airfield Church took me along to the school for Rainbow Time. Here we met with children who were upset or just in need someone to talk to, and it was nice to be able to cheer the up. I asked if I could get my picture taken with the children, but something called safeguarding meant I couldn't and that I would have to share the official school photo of Nancy instead. In the evening Christ Church had a CLT meeting. This is not a type of sandwich but is their Church Leadership Team. As I predicted it was quite boring (as can be seen from the length of the agenda), but they talked about their building projects and also a lot about me and the questions I am asking all the churches.

Friday 6th July

I went to Girls' Brigade this evening. The girls were playing some ball games at first and then the youngest ones were making colourful paper fish with a prayer on the back - here you can see me checking some of them out. Phew! It was really, really hot today, so when I saw the older girls eating ice cream I should not have been too surprised. They were all pleased to see me, especially a dog called Fudge who sat with me while I watch their activities.

Saturday 7th July

Today I went to the CofE School Summer Fete where the Airfield Church had a tent. They had been joined by a lady called Marlene from the Methodist Circuit was had a camper van called the Coracle. People can come and reflect or pray and learn about the church - though today seeking shade was probably more important! I arrived at 12:00 and discovered the fete had been retimed to 10:30 because of some football match or other. As Peru were not playing I couldn't see why such a fuss was being made. Anyway the children who visited the tent helped make a lovely artwork sign which will be given to the school. Here I am admiring it from my box.

Sunday 8th July

I started today with my friends from Woodley Airfield Church at their morning service. I am not sure what Michael, the preacher from the CofE, thought of me?
Afterwards Jill picked me up for Messy Church - here I am helping welcome the children and their parents when they arrived.
Jill also runs the TraidCraft at Christ Church. I am sold on this scheme now as they had a jar of marmelade - at last I can get some proper food! Here I am wearing their FairTrade sticker.
Then I got beaten up and a good Samaritan had to rescue me! Of course this was a part in a drama for the children - I hope they were impressed by my acting. I also enjoyed the craft activities, but those activities that helped us stay cool were the best in the hot weather. Messy always ends with a meal - here I am trying to get folk to eat healthy toasties - they even found an apron to make me look important. A man who said he was a Super Methodist, or something like that, joined us for tea too. Sorry it all ended too soon, as did my week in Woodley - off tomorow to Lower Earley ...

Page last updated: 8th July 2018.