Saturday, August 19, 2017

Falstone Show

Saturday 19th August 2017
The weather offered a welcome contrast to
last year:

The climbing wall was patronised by some very young climbers:

and everyone patronised the family firm for organic burgers:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Planning again

Thursday 17th August 2017
A fine view of the Cheviots on the horizon behind the heather as I drive over to Otterburn for a meeting.  Later, on my way up the North Tyne valley to Falstone for another meeting, it's less open country, still lovely.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Time for a rest

Wednesday 16th August 2017
I'm having a day off  --  and it looks as if the bull is too!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rehearsed and impromptu!

Friday 10th August 2017
The font at St Aidan's Thorneyburn
     The rehearsal was more of a preparation for two children who had asked to be baptised.  So we went to the church to talk about what would happen on Sunday.
     When they left with their parents, four older people looked in as they were passing during a country drive.  We got into conversation and ended up singing hymns in the wonderful acoustic, finishing with a very nice tenor solo!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sorting sheep

Wednesday 9th August 2017

Why the concentration of sheep who could have spread themselves over a large area?
They are the ones who have just been released, leaving the selected ones in the pen:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The weekend completed

Sunday 30th July 2017
Wedding flowers at St Cuthbert's Corsenside
All Sunday services for this parish  take place in this, the Summer Church, in August.
For me, Sunday was 9.30 at St Cuthbert's Bellingham followed by an 11 o'clock baptism in the Family Service at St Peter's Falstone, lunch with the congregation at Kielder, tea with The Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham and an evening of tidying up!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Three one-offs

Saturday 28th July 2017
     This is the middle of the three.  Yesterday it was a funeral at Elsdon, a once-in-a-lifetime event as we send a faithful friend on his way, wishing him "God speed".
     Sunday will be a baptism at Falstone, also something that is irreversible and can only happen once.
     Tomorrow is a marriage "till death us do part" at Corsenside, the church without lighting, heating, organ  --  or certain other facilities which I borrow from another church and deliver today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nearly the end of term

Thursday 13th July 2017
A school sports afternoon followed by the summer fair. 
Everyone seemed to enjoy it, with the possible exception of some of the parents taking part in the grown-up tug-o-war when the rope snapped.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The turn of the sheep

Wednesday 12th July 2017
After a few pictures of nervy horses and dominant cattle, it time to enjoy the sight of casual sheep (behind the rainbow of the windscreen, I being stationary of course).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Out in the wilds again

Monday 10th July 2017
A good firm track for today's baptism visit which I managed just about on time after a meeting twenty miles down the valley to plan a meditation/reflection space in school.

Traditional and Messy

Sunday 9th July 2017
Craft activities in St Peter's for Falstone's Messy Church followed  formal Sung Eucharist in St Cuthbert's Bellingham
[photographs by Jill Swaile]
"Making waves" at St Peter's as we told the stories of St Peter sinking underwater until Jesus rescued him and of Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee. 
We prayed for all people who work at sea and for the ministry of the Church's Mission to Seafarers, caring for people working away from home in dangerous conditions.
     These afternoon activities were followed by traditional Evensong at St Aidan's Thorneyburn.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

I won't do this again

Saturday 8th July 2017
I set out to visit the house in the middle of this picture so that we could make some arrangements for the baptism of their youngest child.  Unfortunately I have only been there before by horse, riding along the ridge from another farm; and I didn't realise how deeply rutted was the track that I chose to take me up the hill.  The car grounded half way up and I had to walk the rest of the way, luckily remembering to take the baptism papers with me.  After our chat, I got the farmer to drive down in a larger vehicle and tow me free so that I could reverse the rest of the way back to the road.
     The rest of the day was spent in the rectory preparing for Sunday services.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A wet birthday

Tuesday 4th July 2017
Light rain (for Indie's third birthday) on the fell at 7.30 worsened as the day went on.  It was a wet drive for a meeting in Newcastle and it was raining hard when the fire alarm went off during a lunchtime meeting at Bellingham School and everyone gathered for the roll call outside.


Sunday 2nd July 2017
After the normal morning services at Bellingham and Falstone, St Cuthbert's Bellingham celebrated the completion of six years of restoration work on the building with a re-dedication service in the late afternoon  --  and an hour of chatting over refreshments.
     In the evening I made a visit to arrange a funeral.  Quite a long day, starting work at about 7.30 a.m. with final morning service preparations and finishing at about 10.00 p.m. with taking the dog out to lock the church.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Encounter with the bull

Thursday 22nd June 2017
Mum, the bull's coming

What's in the bucket?

Very nice, thank you

What do we do now?

Mummy, give me a cuddle

It's all right, dear, all over.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Waiting for Christmas!

Monday 19th June 2017

The chainsaw sculptures of Mary and Joseph stand in the blazing midsummer sun whilst we prepare for the intervening events like a re-dedication of a restored church building and the Church's stand at the summer Show.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cathedral Messy Church

Saturday 17th June 2017
On the coach going to Newcastle...

 ...where we caught the bishop playing football skittles,
modelled people out of sticky building noodles

and discussed baptism with Canon Clare McLaren at the font.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nanny in the nursery

Wednesday 14th June 2017
One cow looks after all the calves to give the other mothers some time off.  I'm driving around trying to organise a family coach trip to "Messy Church" in the Cathedral  --  which will offer some respite to them!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"St Aidan's Way"

Tuesday 13th June 2017
On the way from Greenhaugh First School to Thorneyburn as a "St Aidan's Way" pilgrimage
Telling us about the height of the snowdrifts on the way to school in 1963

The ruins of the old water mill just above...

...Low Linn

Sharing a picnic of bread...

...and grapes,
as we hear about St Aidan's teaching the Northumbrians about Jesus and His Last Supper with the disciples when they shared bread and wine.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Family Fair

Saturday 3rd June 2017
A successful fair,

a happy atmosphere

and the hard work was worth it.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Getting ready for the Fair

Thursday 1st June 2017

If you  switch to and fro between these two pictures, you can see the Browns getting the Rectory garden at Bellingham ready for Saturday's Family Fair!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Candescent May

Saturday 27th May 2017


Friday 26th May 2017
It was one of those days with pressure of time which may be difficult for other people to imagine.  Get up, take the dog out, drive to the fell to check the horse and give her a morning feed, come back to my own breakfast and be in church in time for Morning Prayer at 8 o'clock.
Then dress in hiking gear before driving the five miles to Greenhaugh School for a 9 o'clock assembly on pilgrimage, telling them a little about St Cuthbert's Way and preparing them for their own local "St Aidan's pilgrimage" next month.
     Drive to Thorneyburn and change in St Aidan's vestry into more formal dress (black cassock and proper shoes) ready to conduct a funeral, which was attended by 120 people, and then the burial.
     I can't remember what happened next; but people always get the impression that the clergy only exist when they are visible  --  rather like people's sceptical impression of God!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ascension Day

Thursday 26th May 2017
The distinctive tower of the Cathedral church of St Nicholas (from the Tyne railway bridge) where I attended the Sung Eucharist for Ascension Day

Saturday, May 20, 2017

after St Cuthbert's Way

Saturday 20th May 2017

 Six days of walking St Cuthbert's Way from Melrose... Lindisfarne...

...via the wilds of the borders...
...have left me busily catching up.  Today there have been Christian Aid envelope collecting, school governors' business, wedding and baptism preparation and numerous other things.
 [Look out for the full illustrated story in a couple of weeks' time!]