China after September 11th. By Christine Stead
China is an extraordinary country. A country on the move, determined to show the world how far advanced it has become for the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing. Vast changes are already taking place in the cities, where ancient temples and palaces stand side by side with the stark 20th century buildings built by Chairman Mao and his people. These buildings are now being eclipsed by the more westernised futuristic buildings appearing on the city skylines. Our holiday of a lifetime had begun.
Daily life in cities like Beijing is a spellbinding sight of 3 million bicycles, (how do you know which one is yours?) markets, food-stalls, horses and carts, and crowded buses, all of which vie for space with Daimlers and Mercedes Benz. All of this combined with a warm, dignified and friendly people.
The odd Chairman Mao suit may still be seen, but generally people are well dressed western style, confident and money minded. Encouraged to start their own businesses, many now also own their own apartments in blocks referred to as "The High Rises". They talk excitedly of having electricity, running water, TV and a microwave.
Tea Houses - Old Shanghai
The changes are most noticeable along the Yangste River along which more than 350 million people live and work. A constant stream of barges, cruise boats, ferries and sampans chug along. Sailing between Wuhan and Chongquing is remarkable. Sadly, however, the wonderful scenery of the three gorges is to be changed forever. This is because the Chinese authorities are building a vast dam and hydro-electric power station within the gorges. By the time it is completed in 2009, whole towns will have disappeared and the people re-housed in new towns currently under construction. Over 30,000 people are employed on the project, which will eventually provide most of China's electricity.
You cannot but help to be intrigued by the inquisitive and friendly attention paid to visitors. They politely ask where you are from, generally assuming you are American, and they express their sorrow at the events of September 11th. On realising that you are British, they ask questions about "President Blair" and "Mrs Queen". The most moving moment came on a visit to the new Pudong area of Shanghai. Visiting the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower, which is the third tallest building in the world, we met some Americans in the foyer.
The new waterfront with the Jin Mao Tower right of centre
The foyer contained a display of the world's tallest buildings, and the fourth shown was the World Trade Center in New York. As we gathered in front of the display we were joined by some young Chinese. After introducing themselves, they suggested that we all stood silently for a moment joining hands to wish us all a safe journey home. We thought of this moment when, one hour into our flight home, the plane was the subject of a highjack threat, and we were flown back to the airport. Words cannot describe how we all felt when we overheard the captain call the cabin crew to emergency stations. We will never know how the passengers on those fateful flights must have felt, but we must have come close to it that day.
Boarding the "Legend of the Seas" By Mrs D Davies Asney Lane
September 3rd was exciting, finding our cabin, having a quick reconnoitre of the ship, planning our ports of call and getting to meet other shipmates. We were quite surprised to find 1,250 Americans on board and just a sprinkling of us Brits.
As the cruise progressed, we felt we were on another planet, so, so relaxing. We sent postcards home saying we could go on cruising forever.
And then it happened! The day that changed the world forever. September 11th, 2001.
The news started to come through by mid-afternoon. The whole ship seemed to fall silent, like some sort of emotional meltdown. And then panic. People either ran to their cabins to watch the drama unfold, or to the lounge where they could watch on huge TV screens. It was so heartbreaking to see the faces of these people, so helpless, so far away from their loved ones. The tears just flowed. All they could do was watch TV. All phone access was cut off for the first few days.
The ship's theatre was taken over for Church services. We had a Vicar, Rabbi and Priest on board, so all could take comfort in their own faith. We all cried and hugged each other.
As the days went by, the full impact began to hit us. The whole ship was in mourning. Our trip to Tangier was cancelled. We were just like puppets going through the motions. There we were on an American owned ship, we felt like sitting ducks. We were so relieved when our last day arrived, to be able to return to our peaceful home, sadly not feeling relaxed or refreshed. Never in our wildest dreams could we have known Bin Laden could have touched our lives.
But we count ourselves lucky. We are still alive.
Photo with a famous Person
This month we feature Doris Spurr from Maelor Court, Overton, meeting Elsie Tanner of "Coronation Street" in 1963. The occasion was the presentation of prizes won by competitors in the "Pat Pheonix Oven Glass Contest" sponsored by Lewis's of Liverpool. Doris, who was successful in winning second prize, was presented with a Pheonix Blue Pearl Oven to Table Dinner Service.
Ed: Please keep those photographs coming in.
Dedication of the Millennium Window
On September 26th, a Service for the Dedication of the Millennium Window in the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Overton was held by the Right Reverend John S Davies, Bishop of St Asaph. The window, which comprises five Ovals commemorating village life in the Millennium, cost £9000. This was found from various fund raising events and donations, including £1900 from the Community Council's Millennium Grants scheme.
As the Rector said: "The window of the Lady Chapel in St. Mary's Church has been transformed into a Millennium Window; a focal point, not only for the Church, but for the Community, which represents the Church and the Community as it is today. It will give pleasure, not only for this generation, but also for the generations to come.
The Service of Dedication surpassed all that we had hoped for. Bishop John of St. Asaph was with us to dedicate the window. Archdeacon Bryan Williams, Archdeacon of Wrexham, read the lesson, Canon Hywyn offered the prayers, the Rector led the Service; the choir sang the Psalm and the anthem as well as leading us in our singing; the children of Saint Mary' s School sang a song about a dream of a world united in peace - so appropriate at this time; people from the whole community made it an act of worship for the whole of Overton to celebrate who we are, what we are, and what the Christians of our Village believe in. The congregation numbered just over 150.
The previous Archbishop of Wales was also with us, Bishop Alwyn, and there is a family connection in that the people responsible for the Stained Glass ovals are Barry and Nia Brady, Bishop Alwyn's daughter and son in law. It is good to have in our church something of today's craftsmen/women.
The evening ended with a wonderful reception in the Village Hall to mark the occasion.
I thank all who made this occasion a truly memorable one."
List of Clubs and Organisations
Listed below are those Clubs and Organisations who kindly responded to the Oracle's request for information.
Meets every 3rd Thursday at 7.30pm in the Parish Rooms, except December when meetings are held on 2nd Thursday . No meetings take place during August.
President Mrs Doreen Walker
Secretary Mrs Jean Hughes
Overton Twinning Association
Administers the twinning links with La Murette, France. Individual and family members most welcome.
Chairman Alan Edwards
Secretary Dilys Parkinson
Churches together in Overton. The aim is to give a united Christian witness in Overton with occasional worship together and some joint activities.
Chairman. Rev Jenny Arthurs
Secretary Mrs Margaret Samson
Overton Scout Group.
Scouts meet on Friday evenings from 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Scout Leader - David Burton
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION UPON ANY OF THE ABOVE CLUBS OR ORGANISATIONS PLEASE e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Disaster Touches Us All By David Burton
On September 11th I was listening to the radio in the car when the news broke that the first plane had hit the World Trade Center North Tower. A few minutes later came the news about the second plane and the true horror was revealed. Shortly afterwards I returned to my office where all work was punctuated by news reports and like many others, we all stopped to discuss and speculate.
My first thoughts were for my sister Heather a nurse at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. I never thought that she would be caught up in the disaster, as she had no cause to be in downtown Manhattan. An early call to her apartment, when I eventually got through was met by the answerphone and I thought she would be in the hospital up to her armpits in it!
It was several hours and a few calls later, including one to her unit at the hospital before I realised she had left for a three-week vacation to Montana and, in many respects thankfully, had missed it all. My phone never stopped ringing with calls from friends and family all over the world trying to find out about her, many I think were a bit miffed that they hadn't got an eyewitness in the city to sympathise with. When she eventually returned and talked to her workmates the awful truth dawned. They hadn't been busy at all caring for the injured, there weren't any. People had either got out or died. Only 200 injured victims made it to the downtown hospitals. Mount Sinai was uptown and only had medical staff standing around and a queue of volunteers waiting to give blood.
Over the next few days as I had contact with my American customers, I was relieved to know that none of them had anyone involved until I contacted a customer in Oregon. Her sister-in-law had been outside the North Tower when the first plane hit. She was injured by falling debris from the airliner and suffered broken bones and burned legs. My friend's visit to see her was, in her words, traumatic!