...and a long line of people to be baptised and recieved into the Church at the packed Easter Vigil in our local parish.
I got soaked walking to church as a thunderstorm broke overhead - it felt a bit surreal to be standing steaming in church with a lighted candle pressed against my neighbours as more and more people squeezed in, and the priest sang the Exulstet while the thunder outside rolled away and children wriggled in the seats in front. Year after year, the great story of salvation from Genesis onwards unfolding in the Vigil Readings is overwhelming. Then the blessing of the water in the font, and people coming forward for baptism... this year a very large number, and from where I was sitting at the back it wasn't possible to see the action, but only hear the priest's voice, which somehow gave the event an added drama "Cecile, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit....Thomas, I baptise you....John I baptise you..."
When the rest of us renewed our baptismal vows and were sprinkled with the water from the font, Father had to walk not just down through the crowded church but out through the doors and into the porch because of all the people crowded in there...
After the Mass was over, there was a gathering the parish hall with cake and wine and joyful congratulations, and then I walked home in the blissful cool of the post-thundery rain. But the sky promised a clear day to follow, and Easter Sunday was one of the sunniest we've had for years.
An Easter family gathering at the home of a young nephew and his wife, who were married last summer: this was the first time that they have hosted a substantial tribal get-together in their home, and it was all great fun and most beautifully done, with tender roast lamb and delicious puddings, and so much good talk and laughter...
In the warm sunshine some of us went for a lovely post-lunch wander in Windsor Great Park, the cool green gress so delightful beneath our feet that shoes were kicked off and we walked barefoot, the stunning Castle a backdrop to our talking. One of the great joys of Auntie's life at present is the wisdom and commonsense that comes from the next generation, unafraid to challenge and discuss all sorts of things, reassurring and upbeat when Auntie raised issues that worried her, energetic and good-humoured and thoughtful.
Home at a very late hour, with a wedge of chocolate fudge-cake and some lovely Easter eggs.