…..to go with a quote that is a particular favourite of mine on the last day of 2019.

I had to go back to the Designer Outlet today to get refunds on three of the tops I bought when I was over there on the 20 December - two of them I didn’t like and the third Mr. HCB didn’t like, so back they went.  I wandered around for a while - and having got my refund in the M & S Outlet, couldn’t find anything else that caught my eye.  I do often think that they get all the “tatty and grotty” stuff and put it all together - because I don’t recall seeing a lot of that stuff in the ordinary M & S shops - or am I being cynical?

I had written a “Thank You” card to let James, my “Angel in Disguise”,  know how very grateful I was for his help on that day, but sadly (for me) he wasn’t at work today.  However, I spoke to Jess, a lovely young waitress and gave her the card, which she said she would give to James as soon as he was back after the New Year.  I told her about Mum, whereupon she gave me a big hug;  people are so kind!  I ordered a cappuccino and enjoyed chatting to a young couple with a 3 year old son, named Ethan, who were sitting at the next table.  When they went, I asked for my bill, and Jess, bless her, told me that it was on them - more kindness.  

I wasn’t really in the mood for shopping by this time, because it was quite busy, so decided to walk past the National Trust HQ and the development called “The Old Railway Quarter” when I noticed some very large gates - not actually a gateway to anywhere - but I remembered that they were once at the entrance to the Great Western Railway sports ground in Swindon, where Mr. HCB played cricket a few times.

The sign that you can see at the left hand side of the gates gives more information and if you are interested, you can see this in my extra photograph. 

My friend, Mindful_Life came round this afternoon with her son, so he and Mr. HCB went out looking for interesting things in the garden while his Mum and I chatted.  Sadly, all they could see was lots of caterpillars on our kale and sprouts - Mr. HCB wasn't very happy to see them but her son was delighted!

The quote that this gateway reminded me of was spoken by King George VI in his Christmas 1939 broadcast to the Empire - when these words struck a chord with a country facing the uncertainty of war, being the preamble to an obscure poem, “God Knows”, written in 1908.  

I found out from Mr. Google that : "The poem was in a small volume of poetry written by Minnie Haskins, who was born and educated near Bristol where she studied informally at University College, Bristol while undertaking voluntary work for the local Congregational Church. By 1903 she was working in Lambeth for the Springfield Hall Wesleyan Methodist mission and in 1907 she departed for Madras with the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society to work in the Zenana mission to women."

And I said to the man 
     who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light, 
     that I may tread safely into the unknown!”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness 
     and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light 
     and safer than a known way.”
Minnie Louise Haskins 1876–1957

P.S.  I did have a lovely gift but am saving that to Blip another day!

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