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Outlook July/August 2020

A contribution from Mary Taylor …

A nun's prayer

Old woman

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, 0 Lord, the grace to tell them so.


(Anon. Per Google, 17th century nun)

Memories from the 1940's …

Lyons Corner House
Lyons Corner House

During the recent demonstrations—'Black People Matter' (my grandson Archie took part in the peaceful one in Cambridge) I was reminded of a situation I found myself in as a little girl in the 1940's. I had only seen one black person in Hitchin in the 1940's.

Escalator nightmare
Escalator nightmare

My father took us, fairly regularly, up to London after the Blitz to see his elderly Aunt and other relatives. It was a treat to go, especially as we started from Hitchin on the 'workman's' train, to go for breakfast at Lyons Corner House. We went by Underground to Ealing where lovely Aunt Polly lived. However the escalator was a big worry to my mother … She hated it! My father took me down, thinking my mother was close behind me. When we got to the bottom, my Dad looked back and there was my mother at the top - shaking. Dad was about to leave me with the bags and to go back for her, when up came a black American service gentleman. He offered my mother his arm, my mother took it and they came down the escalator smiling together. We all said 'thank-you', he gave an American salute and disappeared. I wonder if he remembers that day?

Marion Woodbridge.