Outlook - April 2024

The magazine for the people of Hughenden Parish

Dear Readers

I hope you enjoy the April edition of Outlook. It is as usual varied in its offerings. One never quite knows what articles will be sent in. Do read the obituary of the Area Bishop of Buckingham, Dr. Alan Wilson. He was such a lovely man and I have one personal memory of him which will always make me smile. While I was teaching at Hazlemere C of E school, we entered and won a diocesan RE competition. The title was: ‘Do believers need a place to worship?' I worked with a Year 6 class on our entry and the Bishop came to present us with our award in a morning assembly.

He engaged with the children beautifully and we assumed that he would then be rushing off to his next appointment but no, he very happily came into the staffroom to drink coffee, chat and enjoy chocolate biscuits. Surely he would need to leave now? But no again. The talk went on long after the end of break and then he asked to be shown around the school, visiting every classroom. He was a wonderful communicator and a wonderful listener. He made you feel you were special and he was interested in every word you said. What a lovely quality to have. He will be missed.

Interesting when two articles come in looking at the same thing from different angles. That has happened this month with the subject of trees. I too love trees: their shape, the patterns of their bark, the colour, so very many variations of green. I would be sad to live so far north as to be above the tree line. We are tree rich in the Chilterns and l truly appreciate that. A lovely line of willows was planted a couple of years ago on the Rye. They are now established and give me delight. So, to add to the many tree thoughts, I offer you two poems which I hope you enjoy.

Happy Eastertide to you all. Even if you are reading this after Easter Sunday, in the church the time of Easter continues until Ascension Day, 9th May this year.

Very best wishes

Susan Brice


(Not) From the Vicarage

One of my favourite Christian Albums is ‘The Passion’ by Adrain Snell. The song sung by the character of Mary Magdalene at the tomb on the first Easter Sunday has beautiful lyrics:

Brothers, I have seen the Lord
I have seen a new day rise
Friends, I have seen the Lord
I have seen the sun in his eyes, in his eyes

Awake, I have seen the Lord
I have seen the night-time die
Peace, I have seen the Lord
He is the life that will never die, never die

Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!
Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!

The song captures Mary’s joy and wonder in the moment. Jesus, the man who had transformed Mary’s life, had been killed. Mary witnessed the brutal crucifixion and saw him die a shameful death. She witnessed his limp body being taken down, wrapped, and placed hurriedly in the garden tomb before the Sabbath restrictions.

On the Sunday morning, expecting to tend to his broken body she comes face to face with the risen Lord, alive and well, breathing, full of energy and speaking her name: ‘Mary’.

If Mary had a mobile phone, then I’d imagine she’d want to take a few selfies with Jesus to send to family and friends to prove to herself the truth, that she wasn’t hallucinating in grief.

On Sundays during April, the congregation at St. Michael & All Angels will continue to celebrate the Easter Season, exploring what happened on the days after this incredible event. We will see how Jesus’ friends begin to make sense of what has happened, putting the jigsaw pieces of his teaching together as they come to recognise who Jesus is and what he came to do.

We’d be delighted if you could join us on Sundays at 9.00 am, 11.00 am or 6.00 pm to explore together. I am confident you’ll receive a warm welcome.

On a personal note, Easter Sunday morning is my last service before a break from duties as Associate Minister. Monday 1st April marks the first day of a three-month sabbatical. I will have been in post for 13 years this summer, and this time is an opportunity to step back for some rest and refreshment. I am looking forward to many highlights, including catching up with friends and family in York, Edinburgh and Lossiemouth, walking in Snowdonia and along the Welsh coastal path.

I am aiming to do some reflective writing on my journey of understanding same-sex attraction in relation to the Bible and where the Church of England currently stands. I will be happy to share my deliberations with anyone who is interested on my return.

The biggest challenge will be a 15-day (silent!) retreat at St. Beuno’s Jesuit Spiritual Centre, exploring Ignatius Spiritual Exercises: The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God.

The Spiritual exercises can be completed in 30 days, so I am only doing the first stage in 15 days. I am both excited and slightly daunted by this prospect, so I may—or may not—complete the second stage at another time!

See you in July!

Rev. Helen Peters

Associate Minister

Home: 01494 716772

Mobile: 07792 118357


The Right Reverend Dr Alan Wilson

Area Bishop of Buckingham

The Archdeaconry of Buckingham and the Diocese of Oxford have reacted with shock and grief at the sudden death of our Bishop on Saturday the 17th February 2024. He had been Bishop of Buckingham for just over twenty years.

Bishop Alan, who was 68, had just begun a sabbatical, which was intended as a period of planning for his retirement in the next year, when he suffered a serious heart attack. He died being prayed for by his wife Lucy, his Chaplain, the Revd Canon Rosie Harper and her husband the Revd Canon Tim Harper. He leaves his wife and five adult children and wider family, friends and his personal staff.

Alan Thomas Lawrence Wilson was born in Edinburgh on the 27th March 1955. He was one of five children. He was educated at Sevenoaks School in Kent and studied history at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1977.

He then trained for the ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, whilst studying for his Doctorate of Philosophy at Balliol College Oxford. He became an honorary Curate at Eynsham, where he met his wife, being funded for part of his time there as a scholar at Balliol. He was married in 1984 and completed his doctorate in 1989.

Bishop Alan spent the whole of his ministry in the Diocese of Oxford, as a prison chaplain, Vicar of St John’s Caversham, Vicar of St Michael’s, Sandhurst, Rural Dean of Sonning and an honorary Canon at Christ Church, before being appointed Area Bishop of Buckingham and consecrated by Archbishop Rowan Williams on the 9th October 2003.

Throughout his ministry, Bishop Alan cared for people: where they were along their individual journeys of faith and for parishes and clergy. His work is remembered in the prison chaplaincy, amongst those who have survived abuse in the church and by the LGBTQIA+ community. He chaired the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education, which operates education in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. There is a separate Board for Buckinghamshire which, of course, he could not chair.

His work on safeguarding brought him to give evidence to the Jay Commission. Richard Scorer, a solicitor who works with survivors of abuse, said: “I found Alan incredibly empathetic. He had the courage and independence of mind which is now rare in a Church of England that is increasingly dominated by dull managerialism. Social justice was not an abstract term but a call on his life.”

Bishop Alan authored an important book on same sex marriage: “More Perfect Union?”, published in 2014. There he sets out the arguments with intellectual rigour and compassion. He also co-authored, with Rosie Harper, his chaplain, “To Heal and Not to Hurt: a fresh approach to safeguarding in the Church”, published in 2019. There is no doubt that, had he lived longer, further publications on important topics that are central to the future of faith and religion in general and to the Church of England in particular, would have been produced. His intellectual curiosity and his ability to write and speak with clarity and compassion have been stilled far too soon.

When I was churchwarden in the interregnum between the departure of Simon Cronk and the arrival of Keith, it was my task to find clergy with permission to officiate to take the statutory services at St Michael & All Angels. I casually asked Bishop Alan if he could think of someone who would be willing to take our Easter Sunday services. He said that he could and offered himself. He took the Sunday services that Easter Sunday memorably.

At trustees’ meetings of the Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust, particularly when discussing applications for grants for repairs, he would offer his views on the parish and its suitability for grant support and then go off and talk to the churchwardens and parishioners with encouragement and advice as to where they might look for further grants.

To many he was both a bishop and a friend. As our Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, said in his tribute, “Alan was a dear friend and colleague to many across the Diocese. He had deep friendships and pastoral relationships across both churches and community.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. Justin Welby said, “He was a man of prophetic spirit, reaching out where he saw injustice and speaking up where he witnessed the abuse of power. He leaves behind a huge gap and an important legacy; we have much to learn from his life and his courage.”

Our condolences, prayers and good wishes are offered to his widow, Lucy, and to their five children, wider family, friends and to his personal staff, all of whom were devoted to supporting him and were loved and blessed by him.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Christopher Tyrer

Mission Aviation Fellowship

Mother and baby saved by MAF medevac

After walking for four hours to reach medical help, a pregnant woman from Timor Leste was sped to the island’s only hospital in just 15 minutes, thanks to MAF. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in the capital Dili, and the family claim the MAF aircraft helped save her and her baby’s life.

Marcia Pereira de Sousa, a 31-year-old from Macadadi – a rural mountain community on Atauro Island – was experiencing hypertension (high blood pressure) and was dangerously close to losing her baby. With no access to road infrastructure or electricity, the expectant mother began the four-hour walk to find help at a rural health clinic on the eastern side of Atauro Island. Knowing there was still more than 20 miles of water to cross to reach Dili – a journey that can take three hours – a nurse requested an emergency MAF medevac (medical evacuation).

MAF Pilot Lungpinglak Domtta, who performed the life-saving flight, knew Marcia’s condition was serious. He said, ‘I could see she was in pain. She managed to walk to the aircraft from the ambulance then we laid her on a stretcher. The sea was rough, and it wouldn’t have been a good experience with her medical condition on the boat. It brings me great joy to help people in times of need.’ Marcia’s husband also joined the medevac flight. He said, ‘I’m very grateful to MAF for their extraordinary service to evacuate us and save my wife and baby’s lives during this tough situation.’

Naming her daughter Francelina, Marcia spent a week recovering in Dili before MAF flew the family back to Atauro Island in early February. She said, ‘I’m super proud of the MAF team for making a great service and serving isolated people in this nation.’

Her Future. Her Family

The rural woman is more vulnerable than anyone on earth. She bears the brunt of climate change, risks violence and remains cut off from necessities such as education and medical care. MAF aircraft help thousands of women like Marcia all over the world, but MAF wants to do more. Please get involved in MAF’s latest campaign “Her Future. Her Family” by visiting www.maf-uk.org/her.

Pause for Prayer

It’s a privilege for MAF to be the sole air ambulance service for the entire population of Timor-Leste, where 80% of the population lives in rural, mountainous areas. Please pray for MAF’s small team as they respond to multiple medevac requests every week, flying to and from Dili to save hundreds of lives.

What MAF Does

MAF is a Christian organisation reaching men, women and children in over 25 countries. Operating more than 115 aircraft. MAF’s pilots overcome terrain that has become inaccessible due to derelict roads, natural disaster, or violent conflict. MAF aircraft fly into more than 1,000 destinations – transporting food and water, health professionals and medical supplies, and emergency workers and Christian missionaries where they are needed most. Each flight brings practical help, spiritual hope, and physical healing to thousands of isolated people in remote communities for whom flying is a lifeline not a luxury. MAF is Flying for Life.

MAF is our mission focus for the quarter April to June. There will be MAF speakers at our church services on 5th May.

Mission Support Group

Nature Quest

The ancient yew in our churchyard is said to have been planted about 400 years ago, though that relies on estimates from its trunk diameter and historic documents. I don’t think we shall know for certain until it eventually gets cut down (not in our lifetimes I hope) and we can count its tree rings.

All trees in temperate climate like ours grow quickly for part of the year and more slowly later in the year. Each year the tree grows another layer of wood just underneath the bark of the tree and the colour and density of the new wood depends on its rate of growth, giving a lighter and a darker layer round the whole tree: a new “tree ring” every year.

The width of the new tree ring can tell us whether it was a good year for growth, or poorer. When trees are cut for timber, the rings for the tree’s lifetime can be compared, and that gives a historic measure of climate and other growth factors. All trees of a particular variety show the same pattern of growth years, so the ring pattern of a piece of ancient timber can be lined up with the known patterns and its age be determined. This is dendrochronology. The known pattern for oak trees stretches back 10,000 years to the last Ice Age, but it tells a lot about climate changes since then.

Tree ring lines are a clear demonstration of cause and effect, but other lines are less so.

Several months before you were born, when as it says in Psalm 139 “You, O Lord saw me in my mother’s womb; You put me together”, the Psalm doesn’t mention the growth of that symbol of your individuality: your fingerprints, unique to you. The embryo’s fingers are very small, but the same fingerprint pattern will grow with the child, even to old age.

Fingerprints have been widely used to identify individuals, but the significance of the patterns and the cause of the exact whorls, loops, tents, and arches has mostly been a mystery. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. Every human of whatever race has fingerprints, except a tiny number with a genetic condition called adermatoglyphia. Some animals have fingerprints: the most human-like belong to the koala bear!

Forensic and other research has looked for what a set of fingerprints can tell us about an unidentified person. Obviously size of print gives size of fingers and probable size of person. The pattern shapes tell us nothing, but the width and spacing of the lines tells a little. The width of each line (or ‘papillary ridge’ or ‘dermatoglyph’) broadens with age, and recent research on the density of the ridges identifies gender moderately well. But these are likelihoods and not certainties. There’s still a great deal of mystery. Perhaps that reflects the mystery of why and how each of us turns out as we do.

Most creatures do not have fingers like us, let alone fingerprints comparable with ours, but they often have other features unique to themselves. You can’t look for fingerprints on the hooves of zebras, but you can observe their stripes. At first glance all zebras look alike, but look again! Stripes of various widths and tapers, some forked, some have left side and right side as mirror images, some don’t. A zookeeper or ranger knows which one is which. Maybe the zebras know who is who.

Find your mate here?!

A creature which always amazes me is the emperor penguin coming back to the breeding ground to find his/her mate amongst thousands that all look the same to me: no fingerprints, no stripes, but the penguins know what they’re looking for. Rather like us: we can pick out a familiar face in a crowd.

Mike Hill


NQ Challenge

The weather is now warmer (on sunny days at least!). Creepy crawlies will be creeping and crawling: beautiful ladybirds and slimy slugs, plenty of wood lice, worms if you dig a little, perhaps a centipede or millipede, a few spiders, surely some ants on a nice day, and probably a few aphids on house-plants. Which can you find this month? You don’t really like some of these? Well they all have some purpose in God’s amazing eco-system, so thank Him!


Beeches On Whiteleaf Cross

Full of secrets, history in their very sap,

The trees are already embryonic fossils.

They hold the stories of the soil,

Roots anchoring them into the tales of time before.

The leaves, vivid and eager, are full of summer.

They will sing their green song,

Making years of memories

And memories of years.

A writing group I used to belong to would sometimes write, and picnic, up on Whiteleaf Cross.

Beneath A Silver Birch Tree

I stand each morning

Here under the branches,

Not for shelter but for joy.

The winter black of the twigs

Hangs like torn lace against the early sky.

Last summer’s evening dress,

Frayed and dirty at the hem.


But the year turns

Even when it seems it will not.

And a fragile, young green

Delicately stitches the twigs.

Tiny buds of summer,

Sewn by nature.

And a pale, dappled sunlight

Dances on the path.

I used to stand under this tree each morning, waiting for my lift to work.


Susan Brice

The Lord Is Good

I have a confession to make. Many years ago, although that’s no excuse, whilst newly married I fell in love. Quite suddenly and overwhelmingly.

It was a fine sunny spring morning when it happened. I was minding my own business when, out of the blue, my eyes were opened. There they were, their shadows marching across the fields towards me shouting ‘Look at us, aren’t we gorgeous?’. Trees had walked into my life.

But the trees in question looked dead or near as. Full of concern I grabbed my camera and shot round to them. I needn’t have worried, I was learning don’t forget, they were budding and looking very coy with small reddish to yellow/green female flowers around their shoots and even smaller yellow male flowers nearby. It was as if the Lord held my hand as a father with his tiny son saying ‘These are larches Mike, they lose their leaves in winter, but look they’ll be back soon. Aren’t they beautiful?’. Sure enough within a week or so fresh green rosettes of needles clothed the bare branches. Larches are deciduous conifers I found out later, designed to lose their leaves in autumn.

I’d stumbled upon one of God’s delights. Did you know that although the Bible is ours to read about our relationship with God, the most mentioned organisms in its pages are trees?

From the first page (Genesis 1 v11,12) to the last (Revelation 22 v2) they’re there illustrating, clothing God’s messages to us. Who is it in Isaiah 55 v12 that clap their hands? Lions? Birds? Fish? Vegetables? no it’s trees ! If the Lord allows it I plan to be there, what a moment that will be !

So when you stop to admire the magnolias, cherries, pears, plums all in flower for the last month or drive down roads lined with blackthorn heavy with flower that looks like it snowed last night, remember that the Lord is smiling through His trees.

Alongside trees right now are wheatears, redstarts, ring ouzels passing through to our uplands and the first swallows should be here by the time you read this. Herons nesting in the top branches of trees will also have well grown young, our earliest nesters.

I mentioned the peregrines in town last month, since then a video camera has been placed next to their nest box, you can catch up with live action on YouTube.

And please listen out for news from our own eco-church group and on ecochurch.arocha.org.uk, let’s make sure that the Lord’s people (that’s us) are involved in active care and concern for our beautiful world.

God bless,

Mike Bevan

Tower Talk

Nerves, apprehension and uncertainty were nowhere in sight for our three newest recruits last month when they bravely took on the challenge to participate in the ‘Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund Leap Year Sponsored Ringing Event’. Diane, Keith and Daniel each rang continuously for the duration of half a quarter peal, a feat of endurance for them as it was the longest they’ve ever rung for in one go.

The purpose was to raise funds for the Oxford Bell Fund, a very worthy cause which provides grants towards the repair, maintenance and restoration of church bells throughout the Diocese; a valuable resource we may be able to draw upon ourselves one day, should we ever need to in the future.

I’m delighted with people’s generosity, both in the contributions made by the ringers through their time and efforts, including Diane, Keith and Daniel for bravely participating, and especially to the congregation’s generous charitable contributions made through sponsoring us. Everyone’s incredible support meant we raised £158. Thank you all again,

Verity Nicholls

Tower Captain

Diane, Keith and Daniel after each of their sponsored sessions.

Diane second from right

Keith third from left

Daniel in the centre

Holy Day in April

9th April – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran pastor and martyr

Standing up to tyrants, no matter the cost. That kind of courage has been in the head-lines since the war in Ukraine began, as many brave people have defied Putin’s oppression.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not have Putin to contend with, but Hitler. Bonhoeffer did not back down either, when the time came.

Bonhoeffer grew up with no thought of ever defying the leader of Germany. Born at Breslau in Silesia (now the Polish city of Wroclaw) in 1906, Bonhoeffer was the son of an academic. In 1912, his father was appointed to be Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Berlin University, and so the family moved to Berlin.

Bonhoeffer never even considered going into politics. Instead, he studied theology in Tubingen, Berlin and New York, before return-ing to Berlin as a lecturer in theology in 1931.

But though Bonhoeffer did not chase political trouble, it soon came to him. For on 30th January 1933 Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, had come to power. His totalitarian approach left no room for anyone in public life to disagree with him. Including anyone in the two major churches – Lutheran and Catholic.

But Bonhoeffer refused to be compliant, and joined the Confessing Church, which had formed in opposition to the takeover of the Lutheran Church. The Confessing Church also opposed Hitler’s attempts to force antisemitism on the church and society.

Bonhoeffer was in America when war broke out in 1939, but he returned to Germany. He said: “I shall have no right to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war, if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”

Back in Germany, he joined the under-ground anti-Nazi opposition and worked hard to oppose Hitler. In 1943 he was arrested and imprisoned at Tegel prison in Berlin. The involvement of many of his contacts in the July 1944 plot to kill Hitler may well have sealed his fate. He was finally moved on to Flossenberg concentration camp.

In April 1945, as American troops were approach-ing the camp, Bonhoeffer was hanged. The last words of this brilliant and courageous 39-year-old opponent of Nazism were: “This is the end – for me, the beginning of life.”

Bonhoeffer left a great legacy behind him. His writings, and especially his Letters and Papers from Prison, have inspired many trying to make sense of persecution and needless suffering. His 1937 book The Cost of Discipleship is described as a modern classic.

From the Parish Pump

Ebenezer Children’s Centre, Uganda

I have received a few letters from resident children in care at Ebenezer.

This one has come from Joseph:

My Feelings after joining Ebenezer School and Home.

I thank God who brought me here to be connected with the sponsors of Ebenezer who have been helping me in my studies since day one. I am happy because am growing academically, spiritually and in stature. Academically I have learnt to write, read and speak English and am able to write to you with good English.

Before I came my future was already shattered by the death of my father but God had a better plan for my life so I thank God for making me what I am today due to your support.

Ebenezer Orphanage has not only helped us academically and physically but also has trained us in the word of God and serving him as well because I pray and keyboard in church.

 I was a person who knew nothing but I have done with my Primary Level and am now in Secondary Level Senior One.

I enjoy playing football and keyboard. May God Bless you sponsors. Yours faithfully, Joseph.

There are 35 resident children of various ages who live at Ebenezer Centre. Another 100 local primary children attend the primary school and receive a mid-day meal and a senior group attend the secondary school. If you would like to join in helping to care for these children in west Uganda please contact me – Rita Pulley Tel 01494 563470 or email me at ritapulley@talktalk.net for details of how you can do this. Donations are sent to Uganda through the George Muller Charitable Trust.

There will be another child’s letter next month. Thank you for reading this one.

Rita Pulley

A Chance Encounter

On a recent visit to Old Hunstanton, I (naturally) popped into the local Church of St Mary the Virgin.

There, I met Michael, who was repainting the old village sign that had become beaten and battered by the sea breezes along the Norfolk coast.

He was using the church as a work room as his own workshop had sprung a leak after the recent storms. He also had access to the church as his wife was a member of the PCC and the church key holder. This key, incidentally, was approximately a foot long (30 cm to our younger readers) which puts the one on display in St Michael & All Angels to shame.

The village sign had been given an undercoat of flexible paint when I saw it, but he explained the details and colour that would be used to return it to its former glory. He also explained the significance of mounted horseman carrying a spear.

This represented one of the L'Estrange family, who were the Lords of the Manor of Old Hunstanton, and whose family members have been buried in the chancel of the church since the 1100s.

The sign reflects the tradition that the L'Estrange lands extended out to sea as far as a horseman could throw a spear at low tide! The village sign shows such a horseman in front of Hunstanton Hall which was built by and for the family, but no longer occupied by any descendant.

Under the sign will hang spandrels of the family coat of arms and the motif of the Mothers' Union, who had presented the latest sign to the village.

Sadly this vast and beautiful church is without an incumbent as I understood from Michael are many of the Saxon Shore churches, reflecting declining congregations and populations. The village school closed some years ago, and Michael said “There are no children in the village, and many houses are second homes.”

I left feeling saddened for the lot of many churches, but uplifted by my chance encounter with a craftsman who, as he told me, loved to be in the church when it was quiet, but nevertheless happy to talk to me of his work and the history of the place he loved.

Jane Tyrer


One Day - David Nicholls

So this book was a bestseller in 2009. It is back in the windows of bookshops now because of a new Netflix series, closely based on this story. Every newspaper, journal and magazine I have read of late has had excited reviewers waxing lyrical about everything David Nicholls. I understand the buzz and the enthusiasm. He is that rare kind of author who writes phenomenally successful popular fiction which has an underlying literary base. The reader does not need to recognise any literary allusion in order to fully enjoy the story but for me it adds immeasurably to my enjoyment.

The clever and unusual scenario is this: a couple meet on university graduation day, having been in the same city for the last four years without knowing each other. The date is 15th July and it will become the most important day of the year in the lives of both of them. They do not ‘get together’ although the reader knows that they should, and in some ways both Dexter and Emma know that too. They go their very separate ways and agree to meet on that particular day in July each year. Friends, just friends.

I remember reading this book for the first time and getting to page 51 where a letter is written, lost and thus never posted. This letter would have changed the lives of both main characters. I remember thinking that this was very ‘Hardyian.’ Thomas Hardy, the master of fateful incidents. It wasn’t until I was much further into the story that I realised I was right with this presumption, I felt quite pleased with myself for realising this if I’m honest. David Nicholls studied Thomas Hardy in his English degree and the plots of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd and Jude the Obscure simmered in his mind for many years before this book was written, particularly Tess of the D’Urbervilles, of which he did an adaptation for the BBC in 2008. Maybe the simmering had now become boiling point because this book appeared just a year later. There has already been a film of One Day starring Anne Hathaway but the Netflix series has the interesting advantage of each episode being 15th July of a certain year. It is good watching including some gorgeous scenery of Paris, Rome, Greece and more.

Anyway, back to the book. I loved the epigrams that preface each part of the story. David Nicholls gives us tastes of Great Expectations, the famous Philip Larkin poem:

What are days for?

Days are where we live.

They come, they wake us

Time and time over.

They are to be happy in:

Where can we live but days?

And, of course, Hardy. Here we have a beautiful quote from Far from the Madding Crowd which suits Emma and Dexter as much as it did Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak:

‘They spoke very little of their mutual feelings: pretty phrases and warm attentions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends.’

The idea of this focus on dates that provides the bones on which One Day is built, is entirely Hardy…and Tess. Tess is somewhat obsessed by dates and their importance. She feels that each of us has this other date haunting our yearly calendar. We will of course never realise the significance of it, no matter how many times we live through it.

In One Day, Emma reads this short passage to Dex, although she is not convinced he totally grasps the meaning:

‘There was yet another date, of greater importance to her than those; that of her own death, when all these charms would have disappeared; a day which lay sly and unseen and among all the other days of the year, giving no sign or sound when she annually passed over it; but not the less surely there. When was it? Why did she not feel the chill of each yearly encounter with such a cold relation?’

‘Sly and unseen’ are words Emma particularly likes. I understand why. And this ‘sly and unseen’ day is for Emma, of course, the 15th July. For me there is the added frisson of 15th July being my birthday. Who knows if it is also my own ‘sly and unseen day.’ We live through the date of our death every year.

Somebody asked me if this book was actually a Rom. Com and it is but it is also so very much more than that. David Nicholls has produced a story that is funny, frustrating, difficult, real, and I have to say, ineffably sad. Some would say a reflection of life itself but maybe that is getting a little too heavy. Without doubt it is such a good read. If you haven’t read it then do so…and if you have, then do so again!

When did you last read Daphne Du Maurier I wonder? I have just revisited Rebecca and Frenchman’s Creek and I have written about them both in beyondtheairingcupboard.co.uk

Happy Reading,

Susan Brice

April Recipe

Spiced Rhubarb Cake with Cinnamon Cream

It is always at this time of year we start to look forward to rhubarb time! Although it is still March when I write this, I can see all the little shoots coming up in the garden. If you don’t have any in your garden please ask others who do, as there are many people who have excess each year and it is expensive in the supermarkets. There are also a number of groups locally, which you can sign up for swopping produce e.g. cakes or eggs etc! Maybe we could set up a WhatsApp swop group in our Church. The facebook one of ‘Don’t Dump, Donate’ works beautifully.

I am always trying to find new recipes on what to do with rhubarb as a change and found this recipe recently. The warmly spiced sponge balances the sharpness of the rhubarb brilliantly. Whipped cinnamon cream makes an ideal accompaniment but if you don’t like cinnamon you could always use something like grated orange rind or another spice instead.

Julia Grant



150g salted butter, melted and cooled

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½cm slices

225g caster sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

3 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 tsp ground ginger

225g self-raising flour

75g flaked almonds


Cinnamon Cream

300ml double cream

2-4 tbsp icing sugar

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla paste


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas mark 3. Grease a 23cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment. Mix the rhubarb with an extra 2 heaped tbsp of caster sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon: set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 225g sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon with the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and ginger. Then mix in the flour, followed by the rhubarb, until everything is combined.

  3. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the surface, making sure it is even and then scatter over the almonds.

  4. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too much in this time. Leave to cool in the tin.

  5. When you are ready to serve whisk the cream with the icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until it is soft and light. Serve each slice with a dollop of cinnamon cream.

From the Potting Shed

Well, hello again my dears, the clocks have changed, Monty is back on the TV and thank goodness my hubby has sniffed the spring air and is outside more than he is in. A relief I can tell you. So here we are, it is spring and even if it’s raining more than it ought, it is so exciting to look at our gardens and have plans for what they might look like in June and July. Hope you’ve enjoyed all the bright yellow of the daffodils  and we had a lovely show of snowdrops earlier on too.

Do you make a simnel cake for Mothering Sunday or Easter Day? Ruby came round and helped me with ours. It all went well and we were pleased with our effort. Then, sitting down to tea together, I was puzzled by Ruby frowning and mouthing numbers, 1,2 3 etc. Her mum asked her what she was doing and she said ‘ were there 2 disciples that did bad things? I thought it was only Judas.’ We all looked at the cake … and counted. There were indeed only 10 marzipan balls on the top not 11. Then I realised that little Seth had slid from his chair and was hiding under the table. Enough said! I quickly found some left over marzipan and rolled a small ball, planting it on top of the cake. Peace restored. Happy Easter.

With all good wishes dear friends,

Cecily MacGregor

Jobs for April

  1. Sow sweet peas now at the base of their supports. Lovely if you have a summer wedding or birthday celebration coming up.

  2. Prune hydrangeas by cutting back old stems to a healthy shoot lower down.

  3. Protect new shoots of hostas, lupins and delphiniums from slugs and snails. If you always feel you lose the battle as slugs chomp on your hostas, then try alchemilla mollis. It will fill the same sort of space and slugs won’t go near it.

  4. Sow small batches of rocket and other easy salad leaves. Lovely to have something fresh (and cheap) beside the kitchen door before MacGregor starts bringing back trugfuls of lettuces from his vegetable garden.

  5. Weeds. What to do about them. We are encouraged to think of them these days as just plants in the wrong place aren’t we? I won’t use chemicals anymore but I have a trusty hoe for those places where I just don’t want to see dandelions or nettles or those pesky sycamore seedlings.

April Edition


Outlook is published monthly and contains information about our church services and activities, local events, news from the vicarage, pages for children plus a variety of articles sent in by individuals ranging from wildlife, cookery, poems, thoughts, humour and observations about this and that – in fact there is a mixture of the spiritual and secular which is right and appropriate, all being part of God’s world.

‘Outlook’ goes to many homes where sermons do not, so it is to be hoped that as well as being informative and entertaining it will always show something of God’s love and compassion, forever constant in this rapidly changing world.

It has been remarked that the magazine reflects the loving relationship that exists in our congregations, and we do so warmly welcome you to share in this.

The magazine can always be found on the shelves to the left of the font. Please do pick one up every month as it will contain all the up to date information you need as well as useful telephone numbers and administrative information.

Outlook Editorial Team

Sylvia Clark

01494 562801

Jane Tyrer

01844 344650

Chris Tyrer

01844 344650

Susan Brice

01494 445899

The magazine is published monthly. Articles for the magazine can be sent to mag​@hughenden​parish​church​.org​.uk. The deadline is the 15th of the month. If you would like one delivered then please contact Andrew Cole.

Andrew Cole

Magazine Distribution & Delivery

01494 305020