What a weekend! We said in our last post that we wanted to make Easter a big deal in our family, and this year we’ve done just that. Amazing company, amazing food, amazing weather and some new traditions that we hope to carry on with our little ones.
In traditional Bank Holiday mode, The Bookworm and I (Adam) went to buy compost and garden things on Friday morning, and spent a couple of hours in the sun planting up our new (and only slightly wonky) raised veg bed. I even mowed the lawn, but had to stop when the mower started smoking. Twice.
The afternoon was spent in Ellesmere Port, with a bunch of people from Vineyard 53, giving out free chocolate eggs (of course) and drinks. It was surprisingly hot, so squash proved more popular than tea, but good times were had by all. The giveaway is part of an ongoing series of ‘Love in Action’ events organised by our church. Through Love in Action we want to demonstrate to people that Jesus loves them, through a variety of practical and fun ways. We also love to meet new people, and were happy to bring some smiles to faces.
Easter fun fun fun! We hung out all day at the home of our very good friends (and Godparents to both our children), Rosie and Dave, along with a great couple called Alice and David, with their two children. The plan was to cram in as much Easter activity into a Saturday as is physically possible. There was egg painting, egg hunting, a VeggieTales Easter DVD, bunny ear making, Easter colouring, and Easter egg eating. It was such a fun and relaxed day, with some impeccable cheese and ham toasties, and a tradition I would love to continue.
We spent the evening with another couple of friends, with Italian-style meatballs, ice cold blueberry dessert and a lovely warm firebasket in the garden, dreaming big about our lives here in Chester. They even had our darling daughter stay over for the night.
Sunday is the big one. For those who follow Jesus it represents the single day on which all of history hinges – and for which the implications are too massive to fit in here, but we’d be happy to discuss -when he was raised from the dead. And we celebrated accordingly.
It kicked off with a champagne breakfast over at our friends’ house. We listened to a reading from one of the accounts of the resurrection found in the Bible (specifically, in Luke’s Gospel). Then we watched this video together, and had a time of worship – singing a couple of songs which focus on God’s resurrection and the relationship we have because of it.
Then there was champagne. And croissants. And pains au chocolat, and toast, and coffee, and jam, and a lovely ginger marmalade. There was even a spot of rain, which could have spelled disaster for the afternoon’s plans (but didn’t – due in part to the massive marquee erected in their garden).
We returned to the same friends’ house in the afternoon for a roast lamb dinner, with all the trimmings. For 50. Actually, the last count I heard there were 54 people there. Different people brought vegetables, roast potatoes, cake and drinks, and there was more than enough to feed everyone. There were a lot of people present from our church, as well as assorted neighbours, friends, colleagues and people we’ve met on our journey so far. It was a blast, and despite the high logistics and near-constant threat of rain, it was our best Easter ever. I recall thinking, ‘this is the real deal. This is exactly what we should be doing here.’
I (Adam) was also semi-responsible for running games for the kids, and any willing adults. We played a version of pass the parcel with hard-boiled eggs, and had a couple of rounds of the now-famous Banana Relay. There was another egg hunt, face painting, trampoline, table tennis, a hammock and a four hour playlist which somehow only included one Disney song (Sarah’s choice – but you can guess which song in the comments).
We went home and slept.
Today we had a lovely morning at Erddig in North Wales, making the most of our National Trust memberships before they run out next week. (We are no longer ‘Young People’, at least as far as NT membership is concerned.) The Bookworm embarked upon another egg hunt, which was raising money for their amazing adventure play area, The Wolf’s Den. We picnicked on the lawn of their impressive formal garden, with proper National Trust deckchairs, and The Bookworm jumped off a massive tree stump.
This whole weekend has highlighted to me how many great friends, old and new, we have here in Chester, and how much this place now feels like home. It is wonderful to be part of a ‘church family’ who are willing to watch your kids, lend garden chairs, help you move house, listen to your problems, cook you dinner and party like it’s 1999. It’s also wonderful to have made kind, generous and hospitable new friends, for us and The Bookworm, which has been one of our big prayers since deciding to move here.