Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Old Year's Night

31st December 2014
Looking towards the horizon and hoping that next year will be easier than 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Indoor tranqillity

Tuesday 30th December 2014
Most of my photographs are of the countryside in which I feel so at home; but this is the scene in church at the moment (throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas) where I enjoy the stillness as I start the working day with prayer. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday and more Church!

Sunday 28th December 2014
The snow has almost melted when we come out of Elsdon church at midday after the baptism service.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day

Friday 26th December 2014
A band of mist lingers along the valley of the River North Tyne

A traditional Boxing Day meet...
...attended as usual by Father Christmas!

Christmas Day

Thursday 25th December 2014
The chainsaw sculptures of Mary, Joseph and (in the crib) Jesus arrived just in time for Christmas with the help of some strong volunteers.  (In the last few years I have dragged helpers out of the shops to manhandle the figures out of my horsebox  --  including members of the Border Hunt, policemen, local bar staff, followers of the North Tyne Hunt and various other assorted farmers and their families.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Wednesday 24th December 2014
A few of the hundred people who gathered for carols round the Christmas Tree on the Millennium Green at Otterburn....eating mince pies afterwards under the crescent  moon.

Meanwhile, at St Cuthbert's Bellingham the Christingles await the evening congregation of another hundred or so worshippers who packed the church.
     After that service I had two or three hours at the rectory to complete preparations for Midnight Mass, which was attended by about thirty people.  Other services were conducted by my colleagues  at Woodburn, Falstone and Elsdon, not to mention at the Roman Catholic and Methodist/United Reformed churches  --  and Christmas Day is yet to come.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Unusual Christmas presents

Monday 22nd December 2014
Freddy gave me a homemade glitter "snowstorm" with a church inside.

An anonymous donor produced a present for Molly... replace the tail that Indie had chewed off her mother!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Starting young

Sunday 21st December 2014
S.T.A.R.S (Sunday Toddlers And RelativeS) tell the Christmas story, showing the shepherds visiting the baby Jesus in a manger outside the inn at Bethlehem.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Carol Service

Friday 19th December 2014
This year it was the turn of the Romans Catholics to host the Bellingham Village Carol Service.   The picture shows a representation of the Nativity outside St Oswald's Church in a specially built stable scene.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nativity in Otterburn

Wednesday 17th December 2014

The week of school Christmas Nativity plays

Tuesday 16th December 2014

Before the dress rehearsal of "The Midwife Crisis". 
 The Midwife is late getting to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus; but when she gets there she realises that HE doesn't need her as much as she needs HIM.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Tree Festival in St Cuthbert's Bellingham

Monday 8th December 2014

The Advent Ring of candles
shares the chancel with Christmas trees from some of the schools.

Wonderful tailor-made STARS to represent the community:

The pharmacy star

The newsagent's star

Happy Valley Chinese takeaway



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Otterburn pre-Christmas Fair

Saturday 6th December 2014
Announcing the prize winners  --  but it looks more like people in a waiting room.  Perhaps that's appropriate for Advent when many of our neighbours are impatiently looking forward to Christmas... and church-going Christians remember that we not only celebrate the first coming of Jesus amongst us as a historical person but also prepare for the Second Coming when we meet Christ in a different way (which we cannot yet understand).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Proper December

2nd December 2014
On the way to Wark

Midday mist over the North Tyne near Bellingham

 I have been driving around delivering Advent calendars to a couple of dozen families and enjoying the views.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent begins

Sunday 30th November 2014
Only one red candle was lit in church this morning.  It will be two for the second Sunday of Advent, three for the third, four on the fourth Sunday and then the white one on Christmas Day.  (Traditionally, white and gold are the Church's main colours for celebration, especially for festivals of Jesus Christ.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Foal update

Tuesday 25th November 2014

Showing off at five months
My day was less rushed than sometimes with decent intervals between meetings (including one with representatives from the other Churches in Bellingham and one with the trustees of a charity in Corsenside).

Monday, November 24, 2014

A quirky Sunday afternoon

before having tea!
 Sunday 23rd November 2014
Trying out the stairlift at the Rectory

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Sunday 16th November 2014
Courteous cattle move off the road in the mist
(which totally hides the valley and forest beyond)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Kielder "Winter Wonderland" begins

Friday 14th November 2014
It's been rain or mist and drizzle rather than snow, ice and frost; but the Kielder Winter Wonderland began in the early evening with forest trees lit up and the arrival of elves and Father Christmas, followed by carols accompanied by members of the Ellington Colliery Band and a hundred people making "Christingles" in a marquee.  I explained the symbolism of the "Christ-light" before giving a final blessing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Armistice Day

Tuesday 11th November 2014
A quiet landscape as we remember the day that the guns fell silent

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remembrance Sunday

9th November 2014
Poppies made by St Aidan's after-school Club adorn the church pulpit which was carved as "A thank offering to God for those men of this parish who returned in safety from the Great War".
At today's Remembrance Service we re-dedicated the War memorials removed from Greystead Old Church (formerly St Luke's) and hear stories of some of the local men commemorated there and whose descendants attended the service.

Friday, November 7, 2014

By request

Mother and daughter (aged four months)  for those of you asking for a progress report.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Tuesday 4th November 2014
There are many and varied preparations going on in connection with Remembrance Sunday: above are the War Memorials from Greystead Old Church (formerly St Luke's) waiting to be fixed in their new position in St Aidan's Thorneyburn at 6 o'clock on Sunday evening when they will be re-dedicated.
     Meanwhile, I met two soldiers in Otterburn churchyard who were synchronising their watches with the church clock before our carefully timed two minutes' silence at St John's during the Sunday morning Remembrance Service.
     The children of St Aidan's Club made poppies amongst other after-school activities at Greenhaugh.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Christmas is on the way

Monday 3rd November 2014
I'm preparing for Remembrance Sunday
whilst, hovering above Kielder Forest, a helicopter extracts selected Christmas trees

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A fine autumn morning

Saturday 1st November 2014
Hitching a lift from a friendly farmer
but remembering a friend who has just broken her back whilst shepherding on a quad bike.


Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows' Eve

Friday 31st October 2014
What an evening sky behind the gnarled lichen-hung trees!
     We didn't mark the Eve of All Hallows in our churches today because we're not celebrating All Saints tomorrow (even though it will be 1st November) but on Sunday.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The next stage

Saturday 25th October 2014
Today we moved Molly and Indie from this beautiful autumn field to winter quarters where Indie will settle in with her mother before being weaned.

A varied Sunday

Sunday 19th October 2014
Artefacts from an exhibition in Falstone Village Hall
following the service in St Peter's to dedicate a new War Memorial plaque in memory of the men from the parish who died in both World Wars and to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War of 1914 -1918.

The service was followed by a buffet lunch in Falstone Village Hall for the whole congregation (of about a hundred).
[More on WW1 page]
The other services of my day were the Sung Eucharist at Bellingham (according to the Book of Common Prayer of 1662); the informal S.T.A.R.S (Sunday Toddlers And RelativeS) for the under-fives and their families; and an evening celebration of Holy Communion (according to the modern Common Worship service) back at St Peter's Falstone, quietly drawing the events of the day together.


Friday, October 17, 2014

After the fog

Friday 17th October 2014
It was a thick mist this morning that gave way to a warm afternoon.
It matched my state of mind this week, which my husband had likened to a snowstorm: too many demands had been made on my time and suddenly they had all melted away!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back at the dumping ground

Tuesday 14th October 2014
Greenhaugh First School in St Aidan's Church for Harvest

After clearing up in church (and breaking an egg on the stone altar step), it was home to the dumping ground  --  which I tried to sort out whilst fielding phone calls, e-mails and visitors who needed to arrange a funeral, a christening, a wedding, an ecumenical card with information on Christmas services in all our churches...and a whole lot of other things which I have forgotten.