Friday, 31 July 2015

When


When you want to break free,
and travel alone.
No agenda
No contraints.
No-one having a moan











Fly high
fly free
defy the laws of physics
limitations of fuel tanks
or computer controlled flight paths








Wade through murky waters
floating
and contemplating.
The thoughts in my head
are better unsaid,
for you cannot enter my reality.
Your logic and reason,
are as treason to me.






My song is sung alone.
A simple refrain,
Never to be repeated
or scored.
Accompanied by the sighing of the trees,
orchestrated by the breeze








There is pain
harsh and unexpected
Don't take it personally
that you have been rejected
Don't give glory to the wound
It will heal.
It will heal.
It will heal.










Accept that it will always be different
Look for beauty within the inverse
of societies expectations.
There is gold
If you sift.
If you sift.
If you sift.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Betrayed!

On Monday we went on a grand day out to Croft Castle, stopping on on Clee Hill to admire the views, as it was the sort of day where you could see for miles!  In the middle of this shot is the clock tower at Abberley.  There are also public toilets near the view point in the village of Clee Hill, which is useful to know. Comments on facebook indicate that these are in fact secret toilets and only we can see the signs....

Having departed later than we intended we arrived at Croft Castle at lunchtime, so we headed for the cafe.  No sooner had lunch arrived, than I realised that my phone was missing!!  As I was using it after we left Clee Hill, it was most probably in the car.  I went to retrieve it in case it was visible.
As I traipsed back to the car, which was inevitably at the furthest point in the car park, I consoled myself with the thought that this was helping the steps to add up on my pedometer.  I then opened the car door to see both the phone and pedometer on the floor of the car beside the seat...

The weather was very changeable with sudden showers.  There had also been significant rainfall in the preceding days, so we decided to start our exploraions indoors, but I found myself most interested in the windows and views outside, particularly the rainclouds on the distant hills.  The chandeliers were also impressive....







The KHT indulged in some WW1 dressing up...


After exploring the delights of the walled garden, and resisting temptation in the shop,the KHT experimented with a rope swing...

















Then we accidentally walked up a hill and found some stupendous views


It was fascinating watching the clouds roll by....
By now my pedometer was reading over 9000 steps so I was feeling well encouraged, as am not a great rambler, more of a photo taking ambler.

As we headed home along the bumpy lanes of Hereford and Shropshire, an alarm on my pedometer heralded my target of 10,000 steps, probably triggered by a particularly large bump in the road. Insult was added to injury as it continued to add further steps to my tally as we drove home.  Betrayed by technology!






Saturday, 25 July 2015

In the footsteps of Dr. Foster



On a day that Dr Foster would have related to, we set sail down the M5 to Gloucester.












The Cathedral was our destination,and it was interesting to see the gargoyles in action...
In good weather, we admire the creative carvings, but in wet weather they really come to life!














As it was a very wet day so we did not linger, but hurried inside, where we found a hive of activity














Flower arrangers....




...workmen











Stewards/guides
Others moved strange items around, the purpose of which I cannot even speculate!  
Then there were the organists, choristers, cleaners, sales assistant, catering staff, not forgetting those who were leading worship in different parts of the building.... and of course, the visitors!

Two of the volunteers were managing access to the Whispering Gallery, which the KHT experimented with...  However this photo does not show just how far across the whispering gallery is!
The KHT did a Treasure Trail,  explored parts of the cathedral, and thoroughly approved of the width of the staircases....

...completed a stained glass window in record time...

....and was very taken with the latest Denny windows in the lady chapel...


The need for sustenance finally drove us out of the Cathedral.  We then explored the shops, as the rain continued to make being outdoors unpleasant. The Quay will have to wait for another visit.

We returned home, though rain and spray...
As the traffic on the motorway was very heavy, we decided to leave at J7 and return across country through Inkberrow, only to find the road blocked due to a collision. The roundabout nearest home was the scene of a further accident. No doubt the weather was a contributory factor in both of these incidents.  

There was a marked contrast between the peace and order of the cathedral and the chaos on the roads. It is not just Doctor Foster whose day can go pear shaped.  
There, but for the grace of God....


Gloucester Cathedral








I

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Today I choose

Today I choose....
...to wear odd sandals - just to see if anyone notices...

Today I choose....
....not to get annoyed at the foibles of those around me, but instead to appreciate that each one is an individual with their own fear and anxiety, and gifts and talents.

Today I choose....
...to try and read what you are not saying, rather than wait until you are compelled to speak words that are perfectly justified.

Today I choose....
To delete the unread emails in my inbox and put them out of her misery and not to long for the 'good old days' when emails contained interesting messages rather than advertising spam.

Today I choose....
...to remember to pray for those who do not make the headlines, the persecuted, marginalised, oppressed, those who are discriminated against...

Today I choose....
...Not to put myself down

Today I choose....
...to watch the skies and appreciate the variations and nuances of colour and light.

Today I choose....
..To accept the thing I do not have the power to change, and to hand them over to you, Lord.

Today I choose.... to follow you

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

If Church Was A Boating Lake...

"Welcome!
Just wander on through...
Do stop off and get some refreshments.
No, we don't charge for our weak tea and soft Rich Tea Biscuits, but if you would like to make a donation..."

"Lovely seating over here on traditional wooden seating
with some concrete cushions if you are lucky.
Just remember Dora sits on the seat with the best view
as have her family before her,
and Mavis sits on the rotting seat...
Yes, we have offered to replace it,
but it would require a faculty.
She says that we shouldn't bother,
because no-one else wants to sit there
and she doesn't mind splinters in her rear end,
because they are nothing compared to the suffering of Christ,
and If the seat was replaced
it would be because we felt that she wasn't worthy of suffering...."

"You want to set sail?
Yes, we offer everyone the opportunity to sail in a boat, just like Jesus did,
and to recall key passages
Jesus calmed the storm (January - March),
Jesus preached from the boat (April - June)
Peter walked on water (July - September when the lake is warmer
as no-one has yet managed to replicate this yet...)
and called the disciples to follow him (October to December)."

"Is there a price to pay for sailing?
Our treasurer is located in the kiosk,
 will help you set up regular payments and explain covenanting to you
 - this is especially important if you are a tax payer.
If you don't pay tax, just make a donation in the collection box.
We prefer paper money, it sounds less 'commercial'..."

"Of course there are risks
 - but do not worry too much about them.
Jesus saves everyone!"


Sunday, 19 July 2015

'East of Ipswich'

This year we had the opportunity to go away before the end of term. so we resisted the easy option of heading down the M5 to the West Country, and instead opted for the trickier route east, for a week in Suffolk, and a chance to revisit favourite places from some of my childhood holidays.

My grandmother's family came from Southwold,  a small sleepy town on the east coast.  As far as I can recall for four successive years we rented a house with my grandmother, and sometimes our visits overlapped with other members of the family.

Back in the late 1960's the journey would take many hours, as we avoided the busy trunk roads and hopped from village to village, sometimes getting lost in the process.  One year we got totally lost near Mildenhall.  My Father asked for directions from a 'local', only to discover he was a member of the US forces whose local knowledge was non-existant. His reply "Gee, I only landed yesterday!" caused great amusement amongst me and my siblings, but did little to solve our dilemma!

We would eventually arrive, in a car hired for the trip - our family vehicle being deemed too small to fit in my parents, four children and Grandma!  
My sister and I would roller skate along the prom. I loved reading the names of the beach huts, though these days they seem to reflect the owners rather than the location!  It was a place full of surprises - small greens littered the town.  In the evening Dad would take us to the park, or out on the common or down on the beach.  

With a mixture of stones and sand, Southwold would be the first to admit that its beach is not the best in the world.  We often went south to Walberswick, where the best of the sand was located close to the estuary of the River Blyth.  The highlight of the holiday would be a day in Lowestoft, where the best sand was to be found.  
These days the town is busier, and even has a Costa.  I had forgotten the amazing variety of the architecture...

...and the quirky details to be discovered on some properties!


I knew that there were family graves in the churchyard  and that I managed to find them quite easily last time I visited, about 18 years ago.  However time had taken its toll and the proud cross that I remembered, is now broken and buried, obscured by time and weeds.  We spent ages carefully examining all the crosses, looking for familiar names, before noticing, quite by chance, the grave of my Great Grandmother right next to the footpath!
I was pleased that my daughter was able to see these graves. We all know that we have ancestors, but to see evidence, connects us with our history,
and makes us wonder how different their lives would have been to how we live today.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

End of Term Report

In July we gather to share
food, fellowship and experiences of the year.
Words of encouragement are spoken,
Tribute paid to those who have moved on.
This is important,
for we are teams
working together,
supporting and caring for each other.
This is not a task where the work of individuals is revered,
for it is the product of the group that is treasured.
A scripture inspired synergy,
that would do Aristole proud,
as we speak aloud
the scripts we are given,
embellishing our words with actions and songs,
and a cast of tea towels, soft toys and cardboard props
 - without which we would be lost!
No-one is more important
The most demanding and crucial roles
are often the ones that support and guide,
enabling the story to develop
and reach a satisfactory conclusion..

We breath a satisfied sigh of relief,
as the book closes,
the conclusion is given,
the prayer is said,
to eyes tightly closed and hands earnestly clasped in prayer.
The stickers are awarded,
but this week it is for ourselves
as we give thanks for another year of God's generous grace,
and look forward to September,
when the children will have mysteriously grown an inch or so in stature,
inspired by their new exalted status,
as they progress through their education.
so until then 'Open the Book' will close.

Friday, 3 July 2015

'W' for?

A rare day out.
"Where shall we go?"
"Let us just go and see where we end up."
"But which direction shall we head?"
"Oh let us go Hereford way."
"Yes. let us go to Hereford and have lunch in that hotel.  It is like being back in the 1950's..."
And so we journeyed, through villages and towns,
through the parched land,
observing glimpses of bare red earth between rows of ripen crops,
past hops and barley
and trees of darkening dusty green
more associated with late summer than early July.
We past Clee Hill and headed towards the ariels of Wooferton,
and then the dawning realisation that
we having never set the satnav to any specific location
were on the outskirts of Ludlow,
which isn't even in Herefordshire
and is in fact almost 40 miles due north!

Ludlow, in the July sunshine is far from the worst place in the world,
with a fine array of architecture to admire.

A splendid array of both black & white and redbrick architecture,





However,  not all the buildings are ancient.
Modern buildings complement their older neighbours.
Somethings are better in miniature -  my daughter was particularly taken with a shop specialising in dolls houses and the wide variety of furnishings from baths to tea sets
with all their intricate detail.





The town has a good selection of independent retailers,
who offer a an interesting range of stock, allowing the consumer choice.
An element the chains of stores,
offering the same goods in every town,
seem to have overlooked!






I was quite looking forward to a wander around Hereford,
and initially I felt that we had missed out
 by our failure to identify our destination...

As I looked at the image from a pup sign above the busy streets of Ludlow,
I realised the the shape could have stood for "Whoops!"
Instead for me it represents "Wanders',
people who travel and explore, not knowing what they will find.
I didn't take a picture of the pub, so I have no idea what it actually illustrates!
A reminder that what we see is unique to us,
what we experience can change the way we think.
That we don't need to travel far,
just be willing to open our minds
and hearts.

Happy travelling!
Enjoy the unexpected :)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

I wrote a blog...

I wrote a blog about how hot it was...
...but it melted.

I wrote a blog about the torrential rainfall...
...but it got washed away.

I wrote a blog about how the wind howled...
...but the words were torn away,
before they reached the safety of this document.

I wrote a blog about the fall of snow...
...but it got buried as I lost my drift
 and was shovelled away...

I wrote a blog about a thunderstorm...
...but it was over in a flash.
A lot of noise, signifying nothing.

I wrote a blog about how indifferent the weather was...
...but it no-one noticed.

But blog we still will,
seeking a space
for the words
that never do justice
to the thoughts we have.