Jim Binney – 2008 – 2015

Knaphill Village Show, 2017

CHEER UP … THINGS COULD BE WORSE!

Some years ago, my mother sent my father a birthday card which said: ‘There was I, all alone and blue, and a little voice said, “Cheer up! Things could be worse!” So, I cheered up… and sure enough things got worse!’ I often wonder exactly what was going through her mind at the time that caused her to buy him that card. Was she just trying to be funny? Did she think it would make him laugh? Was it a veiled ‘message’ to him? Whatever, I guess we have all felt a bit like that at some time or other. Maybe some of us feel a bit like that right now?

We are all familiar with the expression, ‘Is the glass half-full or half-empty?’ commonly used to emphasize the difference between positive and negative thinking, or optimism or pessimism. It is suggested that most of us are either one or the other when it comes down to how we approach life in general? If you visit any of the four pubs in Knaphill, however, you will probably find that it is not about whether the glass is half full or half empty, it’s about who is paying for the next round? The truth is that most of us are, by nature, ‘glass half-empty’ people. There are lots of reasons to be pessimistic both about the state of our nation or even the future of Knaphill as an ‘urban village’. Thankfully we don’t have to stay like that.

The film Monty Python’s Life of Brian is a kind of parody of the Life of Jesus Christ, that somehow manages (whether intentionally or not) to convey quite a lot about the life and teaching of Jesus in the process. Whilst trying to come up with a way of ending the film, Eric Idle wrote a comedy song entitled Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. The film ends with the central character, Brian Cohen (played by Graham Chapman) being crucified for his part in a kidnap plot. After a succession of apparent rescue opportunities all come to nothing, a character on a nearby cross (played by Eric Idle) attempts to cheer him up by singing, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’. As the song progresses, many of the other crucifixion victims (140 in all, according to the script) join in as the credits begin to roll. The song touched a chord with the British trait of stoicism and the ‘stiff upper lip’ in the face of disaster, and became immensely popular. When the destroyer HMS Sheffield was struck by an Exocet cruise missile on 4 May 1982 in the Falklands War, her crew sang it while waiting to be rescued from their sinking ship. When Graham Chapman died in 1989, the five remaining Pythons, as well as Chapman’s close friends and family, came together at his public memorial service to sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” as part of Eric Idle’s eulogy. A recent survey suggests that it is the third most popular song Britons would like played at their funerals.

How much better, however, to think about the triumphant shout of Jesus himself from the cross immediately prior to his death, ‘It is finished!’ (John 19:30) indicative of the fact that in that very moment all the negative things in life that hold us back from becoming the kind of people God wants us to be had been nullified … and a way back to God and to an abundant, purposeful life for us all, had been made possible.
bouncy castle

BOUNCING BACK

This year we are helping to run the Bouncy Castle at the Village Show. It reminded us of the fact that sometimes we need to ‘bounce back’ in life … a woman called Marina and her story …

‘Two years ago, everything came to a stop for me. I failed my first year of college, my grandmother was killed, some of my most valuable possessions stolen by my best friends, and I was not on any medication for my bipolar disorder. For a year I was lost and constantly thinking of suicide, attempting it twice. My lesson came in four-legged form; specifically that of two completely different dogs, Spike and Dexter.

Spike was a Pit Bull Terrier. I was warned about him; he was vicious, horrible on walks, and very dangerous. He was only a year old, a rescued fighting dog with a permanent scar across his neck. When I met him, he lunged at the cage and snarled at me, trying to drive me away. I sat down in front of his cage, letting him do whatever he wished. It took 30 minutes for him to sit down next to me, and instantly I knew I had to take him for a walk. He walked beside me; he looked to me for guidance, though he was still cautious. But he was hopeful. And he trusted me. When I went back the next week, he was gone. I can only hope he was adopted.

Dexter is a Basset Hound/Weimaraner mix who spent the first eight months of his life in a dirty shed, being kicked around and getting barely any food or water. He has a floating rib and a large surgical scar, likely from internal damage due to the beatings he received. A friend of mine was fostering him. I was the first stranger he ever met. It took him three days to get used to me; it took him almost a year to stop growling and snapping when someone petted him. It took a lot of work, patience, time and putting up with accidents to rehabilitate Dexter, and he paid it back in full when he saved the life of my friend’s other dog, Toby. Today Dexter is an official member of the family, and athough he still doesn’t get some things, he’s a completely different dog now than he was the first time I met him.

Last year, two of my former friends approached me for forgiveness. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to do. I was honestly scared, I’d been betrayed so many times before, and the more paranoid part of me insisted that they were setting me up for another fall. But, then I remembered Spike and Dexter. They had been through so much more than I, and be it in the span of 30 minutes or a full year, both had forgiven and forgotten. They took a chance. If they could learn to trust again, so could I.

Bisley Strawberry Fayre 25th Anniversary, 2017

HAPPY 25th ANNIVERSARY

silver anniversaryAnniversaries are an important part of all relationships. They help us remember the years past and hope for a bright future. They remind us that there’s something worth celebrating, remembering, and worth living for. It’s a time for presents, restaurants, and having fun together.

Usually, Anniversaries are associated with Weddings. At a banquet to celebrate Tom and Susan’s 25th wedding anniversary, Tom was asked to give his friends a brief account of the benefits of a marriage of such long duration.

“Tell us, Tom, just what is it you have learned from all those wonderful years with your wife?”

Tom responded, “Well, I’ve learned that marriage is the best teacher of all. It teaches you loyalty, forbearance, meekness, self-restraint, forgiveness and a great many other qualities you wouldn’t have needed if you’d stayed single.”

Today we celebrate, not a Wedding Anniversary, but the 25th Anniversary of the annual Bisley Strawberry Fayre. This year the occasion is marked with a number of ‘silver themed events’. The occasion should not be allowed to pass, however, without paying tribute to the hard work done by so many over the last 25 years to make this event such a success, and recognising the significant contribution made to the development of the village hall because of monies raised through this event. It may not have been a marriage but over the years the various virtues (and many others) described above have been displayed in abundance. Well done everybody!

Hi-Yo, Silver!

Those of us of a certain generation well remember The Lone Ranger TV show that aired for eight seasons, from 1949 to 1957, and starred Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. At the beginning of each episode, the magnificent white stallion, Silver, would rear up with the Lone Ranger on his back, then they would dash off, the Ranger encouragingly shouting, “Hi-Yo, Silver!”

What is not generally known, however, is that the Lone Ranger conducted himself by a strict moral code devised by the Lone Ranger’s creator, Fran Striker at the inception of the character.

I believe …

  • That to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
  • That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • That ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
  • That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • That sooner or later … somewhere … somehow … we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • In my Creator, my country, my fellow man

SILVER AND GOLD HAVE I NONE

What a year it has been—Brexit, a shock General Election, terrorist attacks, and not so ‘natural’ disasters. It has affected us all in numerous ways not least ‘the pound in our pocket’ leaving many of us thinking ’silver and gold have I none’ , a saying that originates from a story in the Bible:

‘Peter and John were on their way to the Temple. At the same time there was a man crippled from birth being carried there. Every day he was set down at the Temple’s Beautiful Gate to beg from those going in. When he saw Peter and John about to enter he asked for a handout. Peter said, “I’m broke, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” He grabbed him by the hand and pulled him up. In an instant his feet and ankles became firm. He jumped to his feet and walked. The man went into the Temple with them, walking back and forth, dancing and praising God. Everybody there saw him and recognized him as the one who sat begging at the Temple’s Gate Beautiful and rubbed their eyes, astonished, scarcely believing what they were seeing. The man threw his arms around Peter and John, ecstatic.’ (Acts 3:1-12). As some wag once suggested: ‘He asked for alms and got legs!’

There are more important things in life than ‘money in the bank’ you know—and bringing Jesus Christ into life’s equation helps us to find them for ourselves!

Knaphill Village Show, 2016

MAD, BAD, SAD … AND GLAD!

The earliest reference to Knaphill dates back to 1225, but little of historical note seems to have disturbed the village for the next 500 years. The 18th century saw the establishment of the first garden nurseries and, at about the same time, the foundation of the Knaphill Brickworks. The village developed further with the construction of the Basingstoke Canal in the 1790s and the London South Western Railway in the 1830s. In Victorian times, the local area gained the reputation as ‘the home of the mad, the bad and the sad’. The MAD could be found in Brookwood Hospital, the second County Asylum, in Knaphill. The BAD were held in the Woking Invalid and Women’s Prisons, built on the outskirts of Knaphill. And the SAD were the mourners at Brookwood Cemetery and the nearby Crematorium in St Johns, the first custom-built crematorium in the country. Most of these are ‘long gone’ now. The Invalid Prison was converted into the Inkerman Barracks at the end of the 19th century, but the prisons, barracks and hospital have now all closed. Brookwood Cemetery and the Crematorium remain. Knaphill itself has been assumed into the sprawl of ‘Greater Woking’ although it still somehow manages to retain something of its independence and charm as an ‘urban village’. Many of us who are residents of Knaphill, however, just love living here. We are so GLAD to be part of such a warm, friendly, and caring community with a passion to retain all the good things that are at the heart of our village!

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return, rebooted with a cast of hilarious new characters. Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy. The new Ghostbusters is a lot like the old Ghostbusters, except that it stars four funny women instead of four funny men. This summer, they’re here to save the world! Sliding into cinemas on a river of slime and an endless supply of good vibes, the new, cheerfully silly Ghostbusters is a film that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun. The film has received a host of good reviews which suggests that it is well worth a family outing to see.

A triumph of casting and timing, the first Ghostbusters remains particularly memorable for Ray Parker Jr.’s inane, dementedly catchy theme song Who you gonna call? Whatever you believe about the paranormal – and the Bible suggests that there is far more going on out there in the ether than just what we see – we all have to admit that we live in a very troubled world. Its not just things like the awful events in Nice just a couple of days ago that trouble us, but stuff much closer to home. Fears about the future triggered by the uncertainty within the political and economic world we live in, as well as many personal concerns for our families as well as ourselves. So … who are you gonna call? The Ghostbusters can’t really help (they are fictional not real) … but God can. His phone number by the way is Jeremiah 33:3—’Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will hear you!’

 

Images:
Bouncy Castle – https://clipartart.com/
Mad, Bad, Glad – https://gifdownload.net/alegre-gif-animado