DAY 126: Wednesday 2 September
Good morning everyone
Hope your Bank Holiday weekend was enjoyable and you managed to keep warm? We attended a small pre-wedding hen/stag garden party for Karen’s niece and fiancé who get married this coming Saturday but sitting for 3 hours in a cool and windy back garden was certainly memorable. Now we’re into September and the next Bank Holiday will be 25/26 December. The kids are back to school today and maybe life as we knew it is slowly returning.
The name of September comes from the ancient Roman calendar where the year began in March at the start of Spring and so September was the seventh month of the year marking the end of Summer and beginning of Autumn.
Over last weekend we watched the film Sully which we showed at a Mainly4Men Film Night last year. It dramatically tells the true story of ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ when Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger and his co-pilot glided their disabled plane following a fatal bird strike onto the icy waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard on January 15th 2009.
The film and story reminded me of my personal experience back in September 1993 when I was one of 3 passengers on a light aircraft that crashed on the edge of the village of Sheepy Magna near Atherstone. We had taken off from Fradley Airfield near Lichfield heading for Bordeaux but just east of Tamworth, the pilot reported engine problems, made an SOS call to Birmingham Air Traffic Control but as we descended, the airport lost radio contact and were unsure of where we may have crashed.
So they alerted the Fire and Ambulance services from Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire as we crash landed, thankfully without any injuries in a cornfield. We were quickly led to the farmhouse and I will always remember the farmer’s wife making the comment ‘we haven’t seen this many fire engines in the village since the Luftwaffe flew over!’ I also remember me and my business clients agreeing that for our collective self-confidence following the trauma, we must fly again as soon as possible. We actually made the journey exactly one week later, but this time on a commercial flight.
Seven years later, September 2000, our company had been taken over by P&O. P&O cruise division were struggling to fill a 5 day transatlantic cruise from New York to Southampton, so they were offering cabins to P&O staff at just the cost of the flight to New York plus one night’s hotel, but you could not specify what type of cabin – it was pot luck. We flew to New York, spent the following morning wandering Manhattan before boarding the Oriana for an evening departure. As we left the berth on the Hudson River, dramatic storm clouds were sweeping across the skyscrapers which made amazing photos.
Little did we realise that 24 hours later off the coast of Newfoundland, the storm we had seen arriving in New York caught up with us and the sea became so rough that passengers were not allowed out on deck. The following afternoon our ship was hit and damaged by a 50ft freak wave which smashed the port side and flooded cabins on lower decks. Several passengers suffered minor injuries but thankfully everyone else was unhurt. When we finally docked, one day overdue, in Southampton, reporters were waiting for us and we had not realised our story had been on the national news.
So, what drama would follow me after another seven years in September 2007? A wonderful and memorable wedding day when Karen and I were wed.
Shakespeare’s play ‘As you like it’ contains a monologue ‘The seven ages of man’ beginning with the well-known phrase ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’. Back in 1935, Boots the chemist launched their new range of cosmetics which they called ‘Number 7’.
Can you remember and list the seven wonders of the ancient world?
The number seven has special significance in the Bible. Seven indicates ‘perfection’ or ‘completeness’ so having created everything in 6 days, God rested on the seventh day. In Deuteronomy, the Jews were instructed that every seventh year, they were to cancel all debts and set free their slaves. When the disciple Peter asked how many times he should forgive, Jesus replied ‘seventy times seven’. When Naaman the leper came to Elisha for healing, he was told to bathe in the river Jordan 7 times.
Hopefully the Chapel is drawing closer to slowly coming out of the lockdown that we have all been subjected to over the past 6 months. We are planning a staged restart of Chapel activities starting later this month and whilst it would be premature at this moment to know precisely where things will be at seven months since lockdown, we can continue to pray that God will have used these past months to strengthen our individual faith and revitalise our personal and collective vision.
A Hymnalong for today >>> FOR I'M BUILDING A PEOPLE