Friday, August 31, 2012

St Aidan's Day

Friday 31st August 2012
Hand-carved sticks at the Bellingham Show
Today is the feast day of St Aidan, the gentle missionary who loved the Northumbrian people.  When his fellow monk returned (in the year 635 AD) to the monastery on Iona complaining that the Northumbrians had been unresponsive to his teaching about the Christian faith, Aidan said, "Brother, couldn't you have been a bit gentler?"
    So Aidan was sent in his place, taught the people effectively about God's love for them, was given a splendid horse by King Oswin to help him in his travels, promptly gave it away to the first beggar he met and ended up a bishop on Lindisfarne.
     On the night that he died in 651, the shepherd boy, Cuthbert, had a vision of a soul being carried in a bright light up to heaven.
So I thought we would have a picture of the Northumbrian sticks, the shepherds' crooks for St Cuthbert...More about him tomorrow.
     Our festival walk along our local St Cuthbert's Trail begins with breakfast at Elsdon at 8.30 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday), barbecue at Corsenside from 12 noon, tea at Bellingham about 5.30 p.m.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Preparations for St Cuthbert's Festival

Thursday 30th August 2012
View from St Cuthbert's Corsenside
This will be the lunch stop on Saturday during the St Cuthbert's Festival Walk.  We will start with a light breakfast at St Cuthbert's Elsdon and walk to St Cuthbert's Corsenside for a simple barbecue. Today I bought a few essentials before going to Elsdon to collect frozen sausages that hadn't been used on the wet fete day.  A quick drive to Corsenside delivered them into the freezer nearest to the church ready for Saturday when the afternoon walk will take us on to St Cuthbert's Bellingham for tea.
     Anyone is welcome to join in for all or part of the route (our local St Cuthbert's Trail) and non-walkers can simply come for the refreshment stops!  Or they can help with the car back-up for participants who want to walk a shorter distance.
     There will be very short acts of worship in each church and brief stops en route to recall some of the stories of St Cuthbert and his own journeyings in this part of the world.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Elsdon fete

Monday 27th August 2012
Elsdon Green
The day of Elsdon Fete and it's raining  --  yet again  --  poor Elsdon!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Breathing space

Sunday 26th August 2012
The people who don't believe I exist except on the days when they see me in public think that Sunday is my "busy day".  Actually yesterday was so busy (like most Saturdays) that I didn't have time to write about it when I drooped upstairs from my study at about half past midnight.  This morning I put a casserole for lunch in a slow oven before setting out at 8.15 to unlock St Cuthbert's Bellingham, deliver Harvest Supper tickets and fliers to the Roman Catholic church and the Methodist/United Reformed Church, collect newly printed parish magazines from a parishioner for distribution in Redesdale and get to Holy Trinity church, Horsley for the  9 o'clock  service.  After that I dropped a bundle of magazines off at Otterburn before the 11 o'clock service at St Cuthbert's Corsenside (where some visitors from Suffolk asked after Molly's foot, having followed the blog) and was home at 12.45 when the day became very slow-paced.  Plenty of time for tidying up before going to attend a quiet evening service at Falstone, checking the horse and continuing the sorting out after the Bellingham Show (about which I will probably write a little tomorrow).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Bellingham Show

Saturday 25th August 2012
The Churches' stand

The Bellingham Diamond Orchard display was inside the tent

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A low-key day

Tuesday 21st August 2012 

Every now and again I manage to photograph some of the wild flowers that are in bloom on the Rectory glebe through which a public footpath runs.  My plan is to erect a board illustrating some of the plants.  I hope that people walking along the riverside who might have thought that it was uncared for land will be able to  enjoy the wildlife area that I am trying to manage.
     Otherwise I spent much of the day indoors as people called to talk things over and to plan various events such as the Churches' stand at the forthcoming Bellingham Show and the Bellingham Harvest Supper that the Churches are organising for the whole village.  [See forthcoming events on Events page.]

Monday, August 20, 2012

A varied Sunday

Sunday 20th August 2012
What are they doing?
They are putting away an electric cable which had been used to bring power from a nearby building at Corsenside to St  Cuthbert's  so that we could have a keyboard to accompany the singing this week.
     For me, this relatively simple Family Eucharist came between a sophisticated Parish Communion according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (sung to Merbecke) at St Cuthbert's Bellingham and the afternoon service for the under-5's, known as STARS (Sunday Toddlers And RelativeS).  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Falstone Border Shepherds' Show

Saturday 18th August 2012
Doing the paperwork for showing sheep
Penning the sheep

The last sheep arrive

Final preparations for judging craft and produce

Sheepdog trials... speed

Friday, August 17, 2012


Friday 17th August 2012
Sometimes I wonder if I'm using my time well.  It takes time to produce a little poster like this one when I could have been working on my Sunday sermon or out parish visiting.  However, there will be nobody to hear a sermon if they don't know that the Corsenside services are in St Cuthbert's instead of All Saints this month.  So, before I went out visiting in Corsenside, I spent some time at the computer preparing this flier.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Holiday ended

Thursday 16th August 2012
 Fairhaven Lake, Lancashire
We spent two nights at Lytham St Anne, exploring the Lancashire coast and came across a memorial being raised in memory of a local  fighter pilot of the Second World War.  Before our return home, we went to see the finished work:
Spitfire memorial to Flt Lt Armstrong (died 1944)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday off

Sunday 12th August 2012
Molly's casual greeting before I go to church
A morning in the congregation at St Cuthbert's Corsenside was very restful for me.  I particularly enjoy singing hymns accompanied by parishioners on fiddles.  At the end of the service they played a Northumbrian piece called "Wallington Hall".  There's a sense that this music belongs to a tradition which would have been part of Cuthbert's culture and which contributes to the feeling of continuity and timelessness in this ancient church.


Friday 10th August 2012

The cattle were grazing peacefully when after recovering from her foot ailment, Molly was turned out with her thoroughbred companion and rejoiced by running races with him in whirling circles.  The smallest calf galloped after them, whilst its mother lowed anxiously, trying in vain to recall him to the cowering herd.  Much to my relief they finished their exuberant display without trampling him and he returned safely to the herd when the horses started grazing.

"Make hay while the sun shines"

Thursday 9th August 2012

     I was delighted to receive a phone call from a farmer on Thursday evening  to say that he had just managed to make a hundred bales of hay and could let me have some if I went to collect it.  What a relief!  After such a wet summer I was beginning to wonder whether I would find anything for Molly to eat through the winter.
     Normally I wouldn't be able to drop everything and go; but as Thursday was the first day of my week's holiday, I was free. 
     It reminded me that the longest school holidays were originally set for the summer so that the children were available to help with the harvest.  (Before my time, Kentish schoolchildren had a fortnight's "hopping holiday" in the autumn to help with the hop picking.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"One swallow doesn't make a summer"

Thursday 9th August 2012
Fledglings of a previous year
At the third attempt this year the pair of house-martins nesting in the stable seem to be raising a brood.  I hope it's not too late in the season.
     I also hope it's not too late in the summer for you to be interested in some pictures of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in North Tyne and Redesdale  --  which are at last up on the Events page now that the computer is working properly again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Messy Church

Wednesday 8th August 2012
Busy being creative
Olympic Messy Church was extremely messy as the two-year old (who couldn't reach the table to contribute to the joint collage) did his painting by pouring paint onto a sheet of paper on the floor and then walking on it.  The other children were greatly entertained by him both in the hall and in church before we finished by sharing our picnic out of doors in the sun.
     Making Olympic torches and gold medals followed Jesus' parable of the talents.  We learned something about teamwork and lots about enjoying our talents and doing our best together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unpredictable as ever

Tuesday 7th August 2012
The road to Otterburn
Expecting heavy showers, I enjoyed surprisingly beautiful weather on the way to Otterburn where I met a family for the burial of their mother's/grandmother's ashes in the churchyard.
     The rest of the day was as unpredictable as the weather, with various unscheduled encounters, callers and visits.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The round begins again

Tuesday 31st July 2012
Molly has calmed down and we can enjoy the view

Good news?

Saturday 28th July 2012
Consolidating the silage clamp
At last it looks as if silaging is really getting going and there will be fodder for stock to eat in the winter.

Apologies to traffic

Friday 27th July 2012

After ten days of confinement and inactivity, Molly was feeling very lively when I set out cautiously for a convalescent ride.  She behaved well as she stepped onto the main road, bouncy but self-disciplined; she was very patient waiting for approaching traffic that had the right of way over the river bridge; she was sensible when overtaken by large and rattling vehicles.  Then... I signalled a right turn and to avoid being stationary in the middle of the main road, I turned her to cross briskly.  
     She suddenly caught sight of a bright poster (advertising the Falstone Show) and stopped abruptly on the junction.  She might have gone on if she hadn't just then heard something driving up behind.  As she hesitated further, she noticed a new sight where a tree had been felled and a once-familiar road looked strange and menacing.  This was too much and she cavorted around making it quite impossible for anyone to pass.  She then planted herself firmly immobile, staring at the gap in the row of trees.
     The driver had stayed a safe distance behind us and had by now turned off his engine.  I tried to speak to him but couldn't ride back to him without accidentally giving Molly permission to turn and bolt for home.  He wound down his window and I asked him if he could give me a little bit of help.  He said that he wasn't coming anywhere near that horse. 
     I explained that she had been "in hospital" and was now feeling very nervous on her first outing.  I just needed someone to walk past the fallen tree to show her that there was nothing to fear.  He was much too afraid of horses to get out of his cab and his passenger also refused to get out.
     Just then I spotted a rather timid lady with a small dog on the other side of the main road.  I called to her "Excuse me.  I wonder if you could just give me a little bit of help."  Though too timid for conversation, she had no hesitation in walking past the fallen tree  ....  at which Molly took heart and trotted on behind her.
     I hope the poor driver was reassured by the demonstration of how the horse really did need encouragement.  Perhaps he had never realised that horses are not only big, strong and fast but also extremely sensitive and nervous!