November 2011

id=”” align=”alignleft” width=”275″ caption=”Dr Rowan Williams – Archbishop of Canterbury”

In many ways I find November something of sad time of year. Whether it was good or bad, Summer is now a distant memory, Autumn is fast slipping away and trees become more denuded by the day as leaves continually fall like raindrops. It is also that time of year when days already becoming noticeably shorter give way to even more noticeable lengthening nights. Even so, I notice daylight hours eke a bit longer in the countryside than when I lived in town where row upon row of houses acted like mini-ravines blocking out precious daylight.

The twice yearly ritual of resetting clocks and watches has recently taken place. The number of timekeeping devices requiring attention appear to proliferate every year. When I was a child, apart from the pocket watch my father proudly wore, the only other clock in the house was a large brass alarm affair with two bells set on top.

While November presents the opportunity to pause and dwell on the year that has so far elapsed, by co-incidence it is also the time we remember our brave fallen from past conflicts. Communities from around the country gather in services of remembrance and pause to observe a two-minute silence of respect. My own small village does not possess a war memorial other than commemorative plaques in the church, it does however have its own more poignant memorial in the form of a military graveyard attached to the church first consecrated when the adjoining naval air station at Yeovilton, (RNAS Heron), first opened in early World War II. Our church, St Bartholomew’s, dates back to the mid 15th century but there are aspects of a previous Norman church that form part of a wall. The church previously came under the auspices of the Diocese of Bath and Wells until it was purchased by the Navy as their Fleet Air Arm church a few years ago. Part of the purchase process led to St Bartholomew’s becoming part of the Diocese of Canterbury.

This year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams graced the village by taking an open-air service of remembrance in the military graveyard. A large honour guard from RNAS Yeovilton also attended the service. The naval base fortunately has a large set of double gates from the airfield that open close to the church.

November is also that time of year when the process of gradually battening down the hatches begins prior to the chill winds that are not too far off. I just hope the forthcoming winter period will not be as protracted as last year.

id=”attachment_1854″ align=”aligncenter” width=”447″ caption=”St Bartholomew’s Church, Yeovilton”



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