Letters May 2018
Your views and letters.
Great pleasure of shared reading
ANNA Blightman's Cultural Fix column in your March issue focused on her experience of a monthly book club. While I have in the past enjoyed a similar book club I now enjoy the benefits of a weekly Shared Reading Group. These take place at many libraries in Bristol, including, in the Fishponds area, Hillfields (3.30pm Tuesdays), Fishponds (3pm Tuesdays), Junction 3 (3pm Fridays) and Staple Hill (1.30pm Mondays).
Shared Reading Groups are facilitated by a trained volunteer. Each week we read a short story and a poem together, stopping now and then to talk about our reactions to what we are reading. Usually we take it in turns to read a paragraph or two out loud, but if someone prefers to just listen, that's fine.
I find that reading in a group in this way I get a lot more out of the story or poem. Even if it's one I've read before, I find I see a lot more in it than I did reading it on my own. Plus there's the enjoyment of a regular social get-together (and free tea and biscuits provided).
The local organiser of these groups is Samantha Weaver and you can find out more from her on 07812 238532. I'm usually at the Junction 3 group on a Friday, come and say hallo, or try one of the other groups.
Folk missed out on wonderful singing
INSPIRED by the Rev Lizzie Kesteven's thought for the month in your March issue, I decided to do the Easter stuff at St Mary's Church. Having already attended the Christmas Eve service, I wasn't a total newcomer.
The resounding vibrancy coming from the choir at their Evensong was powerful to the extreme; the harmony was next to none and I couldn't detect any sign of voice inaccuracy or mistakes which is remarkable during prayer psalm singing. Such a pity it wasn't recorded. Such a pity it and the clergy appeared to outnumber the congregation. Such a pity that Fishponds folk missed a wonderful performance.
The overall experience might be a bit confusing but I came away feeling calm and relaxed, yet pacified and elated, even though readings from the Bible were a bit too long to hold my attention and I often didn't get the message. It would have been good to have them followed up with a simple version as to what the parable actually meant.
The communion is normally for those who have been confirmed, but you can always go up for a blessing, instead of receiving the bread and wine. St Mary's church is a lovely place, very wide, yet cosy, with a comfortable discipline and beautifully decorated with floral arrangements. It's still got the original pews which could be better filled. Maybe people were away for the weekend.
I am so much looking forward to future services there as well as special evensong concerts.
Let's save vital Hillfields history
AS Hillfields Lending Library is due to close this year, some people are wondering whether a local effort could be made to keep some history books, now in the library, within this area – perhaps in churches?
Jane Baker, a teacher who lived in Gorse Hill and Forest Road, collected detailed information about Hillfields; the people who lived and worked in the area, and the wildlife here. This historical information would either be dispersed in libraries around the Bristol area, or worse – destroyed.
Would it not be possible to collate all the information on the area (the hunting ground of English kings) into one new Fishponds volume, before it is lost? Jane Baker’s information isn’t even properly bound. Perhaps donors could be found for such an enterprise, which might also include memories of the present older generation.