Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No day goes completely to plan

Wednesday 31st July 2013
Flowers on the lime tree
What a pity that I cannot upload the evocative scent of this delicious cool tree which I enjoy every time I come in through the Rectory gates.
     Today I had planned to be elsewhere in the Deanery from shortly after 9.00 a.m. till about 4.30.  But all the phonecalls and urgent e-mails didn't release me until about 3 o'clock when I decided that it was too late to set out.  At least various urgent things were sorted out and I managed to write a draft pilgrimage itinerary whilst waiting for responses to phone messages.
     A meeting with my local colleague was followed by a funeral visit and home at about 8.15 to return to my desk.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Varied weather, varied activities

Tuesday 30th July 2013
St Cuthbert's, Corsenside

where we held a baptism rehearsal so that the three-year-old (holding a candle) would know what was going to happen.
Earlier I had had various phone calls in connection with funerals in two different parishes, a meeting with the  Director of Music of St Cuthbert's Bellingham, a funeral visit and a meeting with the local connector from Business in the Community. 
      From Corsenside I went on the East Woodburn to continue discussing the Deanery's plan to host pilgrimages.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday 29th July 2013
Bellingham: poor St Cuthbert's looks abandoned as we await the next stage in the internal repairs.
I spent a little time at the scene of a road accident, went to Hexham hospital visiting, and attended a reception at the Bellingham Heritage Centre in connection with the North Tyne photographic group's exhibition of local life.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not a routine Sunday

Sunday 28th July 2013
Change of shift at St Oswald's
Father McKenna arrives from Otterburn to celebrate 10.45 Mass at his church, whilst I leave after the Anglican Parish Communion which we have celebrated in the Roman Catholic church as guests of St Oswald's whilst St Cuthbert's is closed for repairs.
     Then it's off to Thorneyburn for me and back for a fund-raising lunch in connection with the Bellingham Show:


Had to hurry away from this wonderful view of Bellingham because it was nearly time to conduct Evensong at Elsdon.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

St James's Day

Wednesday 25th July 2013
St Aidan's Thorneyburn
St James's Day started with the sad news that the celebration of the Patronal Festival at Santiago de Compostela had been cancelled owing to a terrible train crash in north-west Spain.  In our prayers we remembered not only all the people directly affected by the accident, but also those who had made long journeys to be there for today and everyone who had worked hard to prepare for a major fiesta.
     Meanwhile after a meeting with one of my colleagues, I took a visiting cleric to see a little of this benefice and whilst delivering Deanery visitor brochures (Eternal Horizons) came across other people whose day had an element of disaster:
Beside Kielder Water: working on the drains after flash flooding at...

Tower Knowe visitor centre

Moving stock in the shop

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Breaking up the complexities of the day with a little tidying in the garden

Wednesday 24th July 2013 

     There were many phone calls about changing a baptism date and other such things that go on behind the scenes.  I went to see my Roman Catholic colleague about arrangements for services in his church in Bellingham whilst St Cuthbert's is closed for repairs.
The rosebay willowherb ....

We simply have to uproot it  before  

......may be a weed but
it looks good here.
 it goes to seed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is this church celebrating or closing down?

Tuesday 23rd July 2013
Closed for repairs but marking the royal birth

After the Flower Festival

Monday 22nd July 2013
The event is over and the clearing up goes on.
|Meanwhile, St Cuthbert's church, Bellingham, has to be emptied for major repairs and my day is largely taken up with storing the books, cushions, candles etc etc etc that are being cleared out of the church by a procession of people with wheelbarrows and cardboard boxes.  I apologise for the chaos in my study when  a caller comes to talk about her mother's illness.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The wekend culminates in Elsdon's Evensong

Sunday 21st July 2013
The facsimile of the Lindisfarne Gospels
The day began with a lie-in till 7.30 because my new colleague was conducting the first service of the day.  I had a leisurely start, finishing my sermon for Evensong before going to visit the 9.30 congregation before their service and eventually going on to preside at the 11 o'clock Parish Communion at St Peter's Falstone.
     We had a happy afternoon service for the young families, S.T.A.R.S (Sunday Toddlers And RelativeS) at Bellingham before I made my way back to Elsdon where the Flower Festival ended with a wonderful Choral Evensong with the Coquetdale Chamber Choir directed by John Casken.
[See pictures on Events page.]

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lindisfarne Gospels display at Elsdon

...imitating a page from the folio
Saturday 20th July 2013

A "carpet page" in flowers...

St Cuthbert and Lindisfarne represented in the sanctuary of St Cuthbert's church, Elsdon.
[For detail of arrangements, see Events page.]

Friday, July 19, 2013

Setting up the Lindisfarne Gospels Flower Festival

Friday 19th July 2013
A few plants for a corner of Lindisfarne:
they think on a grand scale at Elsdon
Yesterday was too busy for me to have room in my diary for appointments (just the 9.30 Communion service at Bellingham and taking Communion to a housebound parishioner afterwards).  But it was non-stop organisation of innumerable things.
     Today was much more unified, with one baptism visit, one end-of-term assembly (at Bellingham First School) and otherwise the whole day taken up with various aspects of preparing for the Lindisfarne Gospels event at Elsdon.   [See Events page.]

End of term assemblies

Wednesday 17th July 2013
     Rather a lot of shuttling about.  First to Otterburn to take the Communion service at 10 o'clock and back to Bellingham because I had too much to deal with there to leave it.  Then to Otterburn where I bought something for lunch which I ate whilst writing cards for the thirteen first School leavers. Back to Bellingham to prepare things before attending the Greenhaugh First School Leavers' assembly in the evening.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham

Monday 15th July 2013
Durham Cathedral on a fine morning
We enjoyed the visit to see the Lindisfarne Gospels book on its return from London to the North East on loan from the British Library.  The Northumberland County Archives realise that not everyone from remote rural places will be able to visit Durham.  so they have offered to put the official facsimile on display in various St Cuthbert's churches. 
      We have accepted the invitation at Elsdon this coming weekend within a Flower Festival.  [See Events page for more details.]
     But first, there was a parish gathering today following up the earlier exhibition "Elsdon Past, present and future".  A good number turned out to consider the "Next Steps" 

More strawberry jam, a baptism and a picnic

Sunday 14th July 2013
[See Events page for Bellingham Diamond Orchard picnic]
I left the next batch of strawberries to soak in their lemon juice whilst I went off to celebrate the Parish Communion at Horsley before travelling back down the Rede valley to Corsenside parish for a baptism within the service at All Saints, Woodburn.

After the service on my way through Bellingham I called in on the Diamond Orchard picnic in blazing sun before enjoying lunch with everyone celebrating the baptism. 

     Just time to cook and pot the second batch of jam before going to Thorneyburn for Evensong  --  which was quite hard work without an organist today.  Versicles and responses were fine as well as the Nunc Dimittis sung to familiar plainchant, but I didn't find it easy to pitch all the hymns within the right range for the congregation.
     Home to make the final batch of jam and avoid wasting any strawberries.

Emergency jam making

Saturday 13th July 2013
Fine weather for a Strawberry Tea at the Rectory in aid of St Cuthbert's Church, Bellingham  [More pictures on Events page] but there were lots of strawberries over (it being better to over-cater than under-cater) and I made a hurried batch of jam in the evening between preparing for Sunday services.

Goodbye to William and Strider

Friday 12th July 2013

A misty morning promises (or threatens) another hot day

William and Strider set off on the next (25-mile) leg of their "Ride round England" and I decided to walk the first few miles with them, keeping the traditional practice of accompanying the parting guest to the parish boundary.  The dog was quite cheerful from Bellingham to West Woodburn (four miles) where we said farewell (see  blog) but flagged on the way home in the heat.   I rang for a lift but we still had to walk a couple of miles to reach a road where my husband (with dog cage in car) picked us up.  It had been a journey at a realistic human pace where we had a true sense of distance and of how much country we can cover under our own steam.
[See "thought for the.." page]


A goodbye
Susan, Rector of Bellingham, who had been my host for 3 days, walked several miles with us when we set off this morning. I was sad to see her leave us for her walk home.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

St Benedict's Day

Thursday 11th July 2013

The weather holds as cut hay dries in rows in the fields
We managed a celebration of Holy Communion on St Benedict's Day before the non-stop activities of the rest of the day: a visit from the Diocesan surveyor, the blessing of a house with lunch, a visit to arrange details of the weekend's baptism, a meeting of the Team Council and home to an evening of catching up with messages.

Meet William and Strider

Wednesday 10th July 2013
Gathering to hear about the "Ride round England"

[ More tomorrow]

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The summer continues

Wednesday 10th July 2013
Haymaking outside Bellingham
and the conditions are so good that whilst one tractor turns the hay, the retired generation joins in with the aged equipment to get the baling done:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Successful rendezvous

Tuesday 9th July 2013

William and Strider contemplating the last seven or so miles of the hot (27 degrees) and fly-ridden journey from Greenhead to Bellingham  --  from where I had driven out to offer a bucket of water and some snacks.
Tomorrow there's a chance to hear about the first 700 miles, the cathedral visits and the children's charities which they are supporting: come to Bellingham Rectory (grounds) at 6.00 p.m.
            After returning home, I had a meeting with the committee of the Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham, making final arrangements for "Meet William and Strider" and also for several varied future events listed here:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Real summer

Monday 8th July 2013
Starting the silaging or hay-making on the way to Wark
What a wonderful relief to witness this sunny seasonal activity which I last saw two years ago.  Last summer was non-existent and very few farmers around here were able to salvage good forage crops.  Perhaps this year we can go into the winter with enough supplies of feed stored for the livestock.
     My visit to Wark was to talk over the development of our Deanery "Tourists > Pilgrims" programme    --  of which more later.
     An exchange of e-mails with William Reddaway led to much studying of the map and some planning for his arrival with (or on) Strider.  See Events page for imminent "Forthcoming Event".

A Sunday baptism

Sunday 7th July 2013
Water damage inside St Cuthbert's Bellingham
The church is soon to be closed for the most intensive three weeks of repairs; but today we were able to hold the Family Eucharist during which a six-year-old was baptised with radiant serenity.
     Unfortunately the organist had been admitted to hospital on Friday evening.  So we got together a first-time choir of a dozen children who came early to practise.  They seemed to enjoy  giving a lead to the adults who didn't know the songs which six-year-olds sing at school.
     After the complexities of guiding the choir, baptising the little girl, presiding at the celebration of Communion, blessing young and old who came to the altar rail with the communicants and having some photographs taken afterwards, it was rather a contrast to find myself taking the service for ten adults at West Woodburn.
     By the afternoon, I had come to the end of my energy and even fell asleep in front of the television for part of Andy Murray's historic winning match at Wimbledon.  Back to consciousness for the exciting end and off to church for Evensong.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Woodland Walk

Saturday 6th July 2013
Woodland Walk in aid of Corsenside churches
"Raise the Roof" and St Peter's Roman Catholic Church

Down to the waterfall

and up to the view across the Rede valley

A welcome bench

before ending with tea in the barn
That was the restful part of the day.  Otherwise there was a great deal of rushing about in preparation for tomorrow, contacting families in connection with the baptism, typing a hymnsheet and finally finishing the photocopying some time around midnight.

Friday, July 5, 2013

St Aidan's Club outing

Friday 5th July 2013
Children from Greenhaugh School arrive on a St Aidan's Club outing to their sister Church of St Peter's Falstone
Which is the oldest gravestone?
The rest of the day involved a meeting with the Archdeacon to the Deanery for a meeting with a small group at Bellingham Rectory, an excellent fund-raising dinner at Byrness and the usual fielding of messages.

Odd meals

Thursday 4th July 2013
Who are these on the grass verge?
              This  is an artistic area and here's a reminder of the current Art Tour.    I drive past after the morning Communion and a meeting with Churchwarden and fellow priest clarifying our pattern of services for the next few weeks. 
        There's a school assembly at 1 o'clock and then a chance to eat some lunch.  Finishing eating at 2.45 meant that I didn't really want anything else at 6 o'clock before going off to Deanery Synod.  So it was stewed rhubarb and custard then and a sandwich at nearly 10 o'clock followed by  a rather late bed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

St Thomas's Day

Tuesday 3rd July 2013
The scaffolding is nearly all up round St Cuthbert's Bellingham
and we have been busy preparing our plan for clearing the inside of the church  --  as well as having a Communion service at St John's Otterburn for the feast day of St Thomas.
In the afternoon I went to arrange a funeral with a family
and after Evening Prayer had a preparation for a baptism with the six-year-old who has requested this along with her family.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Roaming the Deanery

Monday 1st July 2013
Purple flowers pick up the colour of the glass and the vestment.

I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the Chollerton flower arrangements after calling at Wark and then meeting two other Rural Deans at Wall before returning to Bellingham.