Friday, June 26, 2015

Picnic walk

Friday 26th June 2015

St Aidan's Club enjoying the wild flowers on the way to their picnic at Thorneyburn church (centre background)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Still here!

Monday 22nd June 2015
Back at work means back to lots of appointments, lots of driving and lots of views.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Saturday 13th June 2015

"What I did on my days off"

Friday 12th June 2015
My alter ego has fallen asleep over the Church Times
Not having had time off whilst there were vacancies for the other clergy posts in the Team ministry, I cannot remember when I last had a normal day off  --  years!  So, now that we are up to more or less full strength, I've taken two weeks off and been doing a lot of catching up: visits to the dentist and the optician, trying to buy a car to replace the one which blew the head gasket, planning a holiday for 2016 (which will be the first for three years), having a friend to stay, and... getting her to help me make this scarecrow for the village Scarecrow Trail.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Sunday off

Sunday 7th June 2015
A heron flies away after I disturb his fishing.
Instead of being in church first thing on a Sunday morning, I joined the congregation at St Mungo's Simonburn for the 11 o'clock service and ate a rare leisurely lunch with no afternoon visits.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A few days off

Friday 5th June 2015
I disturbed Indie and her friend during their afternoon nap!

Ascension Day

Thursday 14th May 2015

Final part of the nesting saga

Tuesday 5th May 2015
The resident blackbird at his nest in the stable. 
He sang very sweetly to persuade his mate to take up residence here, but she was very nervous at first about the horse stomping around between the door and the nest.  He seemed very much at home, possibly being one of those who hatched here last year.
     But the story goes back to 2013 when swallows nested on that beam.  There were five chicks.  I didn't expect to see the small, weak one again, but four flew off to Africa and in Spring 2014 three returned, swooping into the stable only to receive a terrible shock.  In their absence the blackbirds had commandeered their nest, turning it into a blackbirds' nest by scattering  a few bits of hay and twig over the mud.  The three swallows repeatedly circled the stable, swooping at the nest to indicate that it was theirs, whilst Mrs Blackbird hunched down obstinately.
     So it came about that blackbirds nested there again this year, also producing five eggs. Father bird worked very hard at feeding them all  --  and at mucking out!
      The first fledgling to leave the nest drowned in the horse's water bucket. 
     The second fluttered wildly on the ground, trying to regain the nest but unable to fly up to the beam which was at swallows' nesting height, too high for a young blackbird.  Alarmed by the fluttering, the horse started to panic and circle the stable.  I turned her out into the paddock whilst I tried to provide a pile of straw bales to act as either a ladder to the nest or a protective wall for the bird.
     To cut the story short, the second bird scuttled off at ground level, the third one managed some hopping interspersed with flying which ended with an escape under the gate into the back garden, the fourth sat on the straw in the stable and called to the fifth to leave the nest.  After several attempts, this last one scrambled over the nest edge, swayed on the edge of the beam, wished it hadn't....and managed to retreat back into the nest.  Number four then flew at low level out of the stable and crash-landed on the drive with a kind of diving belly flop.  By the end of the day the last one had left  --  and the horse was allowed back in.
     I don't know which one it was that was killed by a car just outside the garden gate.  

Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham Dog Show

Monday 4th May 2015
The Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham organise events which are enjoyable in their own right as well as raising funds to help to maintain the church building. And it was a fine Bank Holiday!

Zeb tries his best

A worthy winner

Jeanette and her dogs take a bow

[More pictures on the Events page]

The True Vine

Sunday 3rd May 2015
At the Family Service behind the Easter Garden we  placed a picture painted by the families at Messy Church reminding us of Jesus, the "True Vine":  branches will not be fruitful unless they stay connected to the main stem.  Christians must stay in touch with Jesus.

Zeb's temptation

Tuesday 28th April 2015
Zeb was greatly "temptated".  That's my word for his being led into temptation: I don't think dogs can actually be tempted because they act more according to instinct or conditioning than by conscience.
     Anyway, Zeb had been cheerfully running along beside the horse and had got slightly ahead when suddenly he stopped and snuffed the air as though something might temptate him off into the trees to our left.  I started to trot which encouraged him to hurry straight on.  Once he had got safely ahead of us, Molly stopped dead with her ears pricked to the left, showing me where a deer had frozen motionless to avoid Zeb's notice.  The deer walked quietly past us and we moved forward, turning right onto a smaller track.
     I called to Zeb to follow us, which he did for a short distance before suddenly turning and running after a hare.  The hare disappeared into long grass, but I could tell what was happening from the zig-zag way that Zeb was running.  Happily, that almost certainly meant that the hare would give him the slip.
     Meanwhile, all this commotion caused a heron to take fright  --  and flight.  With a heavy flapping, the heron rose from what had been a nice quiet pond and flew away above us, drawing my attention to a bird of prey gliding overhead.
     I called Zeb, who now came to heel and followed us the rest of the way home.  His having been so temptated had given me a lovely lot of wildlife viewing!