Saturday, February 20, 2016

A nice mud bath

Saturday 20th February 2016
Molly's enjoyment of a good roll in the mud when I turn her out in the morning prompts me to think about our animals, the pleasure they give and the responsibility that they bring.


Friday 19th February 2016
I give thanks for the imaginative response of a variety of people thinking of being confirmed in the Church

Friday, February 19, 2016


Thursday 18th February 2016
The Holy Eucharist is the great Thanksgiving of the Church for all of life's blessings and especially for Divine love as shown through the Risen Christ.  So Thursday morning's celebration of the Eucharist set the context for the rest of the day's activities (including a meeting with lighting consultants, a Bible study with a dozen people in the afternoon and the Team Council in the evening).

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A welcome day off

Wednesday 17th February 2016
A day off means a welcome chance for some rest and sorting things out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Tuesday 16th February 2016
Supper tonight was soup from a bowl given to me by a very good friend who has just died.  Years ago, when she saw my teapot, she commented that she recognised the work of the same potter who had made some bowls that she had.  Then, in her characteristically generous way, she gave me the three bowls to go with my teapot.
   So today's gratitude is for friends. 
 As I set out to drive to Falstone for a PCC meeting, I switched on the car radio and heard part of a requiem by Cimarosa:  "Rest eternal grant unto her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her."  How appropriate.

Monday, February 15, 2016

"Use your L.O.A.F."

Monday 15th February 2016
This picture wasn't taken today but the apples shown were using our LOAF: Local and Organic.  (No fuel used in bringing them to the house and no pollution of the environment through the use of pesticides.)
     Today's thanksgiving was for my delicious lunch: a Local pork chop (which was Animal-friendly because nowhere has better welfare standards for pork production than the U.K.) and English cabbage  --  with pure English butter  --  and an English apple (all supporting hard-pressed British farmers) followed by a cup of Fair-trade coffee  --  with Organic English milk.
     You can see the scope for lots of prayer for the rest of the day in connection with all the people who produced my lunch.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

St Valentine's Day

Sunday 14th February 2016
Looking at the church from a different angle in the sun before the first service of the morning, I thank God for being loved.  All through the day I see people showing care for each other  --  welcoming the strangers who arrive in St Cuthbert's Bellingham to look round the building, planning for Messy Church to serve the needs of the Falstone families, meeting possible Confirmation candidates who begin to realise that they are each infinitely precious in the eyes of God whoever they are, and helping each other in practical ways (tissues and torches) at Thorneyburn where Evensong took place in St Aidan's covered in snow.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ever changing

Saturday 13th February 2016
How the weather can change in two days!  And the constant variation is in itself a cause for delight  --  no wonder the English talk about the weather: it's never boring, sometimes surprising, often refreshing, sometimes frustrating or worse.  I thank God for the variety but also sympathise with everyone whose life or livelihood depends on the land, praying about the hardships of the upland farmers, the suffering of people in inadequate housing, and the pressures on emergency services and for others whose work is made more difficult.  (After my farm visits, my day is spent indoors preparing for Sunday services.)

Friday, February 12, 2016


Friday 12th February 2016
As someone with good hearing, I'm always grateful for quiet times without the noise of machinery or engines (including light bulbs, fridges and computer fans as well as road traffic and garden strimmers).  Then I remember the people who can never enjoy peaceful surrounding and others whose impaired hearing deprives them of pleasurable sounds.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Thursday 11th February 2016
What a blessing to wake up in a warm bed on a frosty morning!  So today's prayer is for people who are suffering from the cold  --  and for the "Country coats 4 Syria" appeal which came to me through the Countryside Alliance in the awareness that many country people have a spare winter coat hanging near the back door.  Using churches as collection points the organisers have managed to send mountains of coats filling many horseboxes to people in refugee camps.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent begins

Ash Wednesday 10th February 2016
Molly's View
Lent begins with the first of the blessings that I thank God for: how wonderful to live here!  And I pray for people who live in unpleasant surroundings.  (That could be a very long prayer, taking all day.)  Then feed the dog, give Molly some hay and off to Morning Prayer before coming home to check e-mails and go to school for assembly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Shrove Tuesday

Tuesday 9th February 2016
Pancake making during my second school activity of the day.
  First was a planning meeting with a head teacher; second indulging in pancakes before we start our Lenten disciplines; and thirdly a meeting with a chairman of school governors.
     After Evening Prayer I met a couple who needed to make the first arrangements for their wedding and for the legal preliminaries.  Now on to Ash Wednesday.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gifts from Vera

Sunday 7th February 2016
It was Vera's funeral yesterday at Thorneyburn.  Everyone mentioned her generosity and heart of gold.  So it seemed appropriate to take these plates of cakes and savouries to the night shelter in Hexham  --  which I managed to find despite there being no entry in the telephone directory and no notice on the front door.  (Not everyone realises that there are people without shelter for the night in rural areas as well as cities.)