Dear Friends 

I sometimes marvel at the simple fact that anyone over the age of 70 is still alive. That might be taken the wrong way. It is not that I think anyone over 70 is particularly old (in fact if you’re under 85 you’re a mere child in my opinion) its that I think its remarkable that they survived a childhood of playing cowboys and Indians in buildings and bomb sites and the various medicinal remedies that would now be illegal. 

As seems to happen just about every Christmas I did a fair few services in schools, got a stinking cold and had barely any voice by the time we got to Christmas. I think it was Christmas Eve where I coughed and croaked through the service at St Blazey and the very kind Grace gave me one of the Victory V’s she had tucked away in her hand bag. It did a good job of helping the throat and my first Christmas present handed to me on Christmas morning was a whole tube of Victory V’s just for me! I had never heard of them before but the people around me (dare I say that all were over a certain age) waxed lyrical about their remarkable curative properties. 

When I got home I looked up the ingredients. Nowadays they are mostly made of menthol and liquorice but before the 1960’s they were “specially formulated to contain the correct quantities of ether, liquorice and chloroform”. No wonder they made people feel better!! 

A friend and I have a little catchphrase: “Winning at Life”. Whenever we are enjoying something, or something goes well one of us will say “Winning at Life”. It started when we went on holiday to Scotland and my Aunty gave us £30 for holiday treats. But in the 2 weeks of our holiday we struggled to spend it. We decided to buy an ice cream on the ferry - an American couple heard my (American) friend’s accent and bought us an ice cream. £30 still unspent. 

We went to a café to have a cooked breakfast, the service was a bit slow so they gave us breakfast for free! We went to a distillery on Islay and were going to buy ourselves a couple of drams of single malt, the distillery was quiet so the owner gave us some free tasters - and not of the cheap stuff either. A group brought us drinks in a pub and a doorman waived our fee for a tour of a distillery. And so our phrase was coined “Winning at Life”! The £30 treat money lasted us all through the 2 week holiday until we finally spent it on a bottle of single malt to take home to Aunty and Uncle. 

They were all such simple things… £30 wouldn’t have broken the bank for either of us and we could afford the odd ice cream or drink, but when these little blessings happened they made us realise once again that life is good. 

If you’ve managed it through long enough to read this, you are, at least to some small degree, “Winning at Life”. All of us have lost friends and loved ones along the way, and life in and of itself is something precious and worthy of celebration. 

That doesn’t mean life is easy. In fact us humans are united by the fact that everyone is fighting a battle of some description - with health, grief, anxiety, family issues or money worries. But it doesn’t detract from the fact that life is good and noticing the little blessings reminds us of the goodness of God which pervades all of creation. 

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer”.                                                                      1 Timothy 4.4-5 

With my love as ever,
 
Jules Rev’d Jules Williams, 

Vicar of St Blazey, Luxulyan and Boscoppa

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