Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring into Summer!

Tuesday 28th March 2017
Zooming about between parishes (Falstone, Bellingham and Corsenside) for bereavement visits, schools governors' meetings and Parochial Church Council, I keep intruding on the territory of the local blackface sheep with their expressive gaze.

Part of "Revitalising Redesdale"

Monday 27th March 2017
The River Rede in the valley between East Woodburn and Corsenside which I passed on my way from a meeting about developments at St Cuthbert's Church Elsdon: we can see it becoming the area's coolest and most atmospheric performance space!

Mothering Sunday

Sunday 26th March 2017
The clocks went forward in the night to "British Summer Time" so all the children were still asleep but some of the mothers came to church and were given flowers for Mothering Sunday as well as some of the Simnel Cake.
    According to my recipe book, a brother and sister (Simon and Nell) were going to visit their mother and couldn't agree on whether to take her a boiled cake or a baked cake.  So they each made their own and then stuck the two together with almond icing (marzipan).  that's how we come to have the sticky layer in the middle of the cake which they named after themselves: Sim and Nel.
     Well, it has become a custom to eat Simnel Cake at Easter, hence the eleven marzipan balls to represent the eleven loyal disciples (omitting Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus).
     Whatever the origin of the custom, it's a Church festival which gives thanks for all our experiences of mothering, caring, looking after and being loved  --  in the first place (and ultimately) by God who is the source of all love.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nine months to Christmas (Lady Day)

Saturday 25th March 2017
Admiring the view

Tranquil to look at

Thursday 23rd March 2017
Tranqil to behold!  But when I call, a farmer tells me that a member of the family has had an allergic reaction to chemotherapy and has been transferred to hospital miles away, whilst the cows still need to be attended as they calve and the ewes are lambing and all the routine of the farm continues.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring turns to winter!

Wednesday 22nd March 2017
 A spring-like sunset at the weekend followed by snow, sleet, daffodils, blossom, rain, wind....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Beneath the surface

Tuesday 14th March 2017
     Life beneath a calm scene like this one is anything but calm for a farmer whose cow this morning went into labour with a posterior presentation.  The vet had to perform a caesarean in the farmyard.  A plastic bag caught by the wind startled the sedated cow.  Cow kicked vet.  White-faced vet fell to ground.  Farmer threw bucket of water over vet's head.  Vet completed operation.  Calf wasn't breathing.  Farmer held calf upside-down and shook him till the fluid was released from his mouth.  Vet sewed up cow and drove away. 
     Vet's leg wasn't broken.  Calf was alive.  Cow was unhappy.  Farmer was late feeding sheep who had given up waiting and wandered off to a far-away hill  --  when I met the farmer on his quad bike going to take the sheep feed to them.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Second Sunday of Lent

Sunday 12th March 2017
Some lovely sun as I strode up the hill between services which covered the full range (Parish Communion in Bellingham, Messy Church in Falstone and Evensong in Thorneyburn).  The air alive with the sound of skylarks.  heard the first curlew two days ago and smelt the honey balm poplar buds for the first time this year.

Diocesan meeting

Saturday 11th March 2017
Late afternoon mist over the river just before Evening Prayer

Friday in Lent

Friday 10th March 2017
Mustn't let some cloudy drizzle put me off the getting fit schedule!  managed to fit it in between staff meeting and parish visits  --  and was rewarded by the sight of a low-flying oyster catcher shrieking past.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Getting in training

Thursday 9th March 2107
Today the skylarks sang on the fell above Bellingham as I took exactly half an hour to get to this point from the Rectory [the building behind the trees directly above the s of sang in the first line of this text]  --  starting to get fit for walking St Cuthbert's Way (after yesterday, the last day of good winter riding).
  Back in good time to lead the ecumenical Lent group who were looking at the lives of St Aidan and St Cuthbert in our series on local Christians from the 7th century to today (Oswald to the Food Bank).  Then hurrying on to a long school governors' meeting and home in time for 9 o'clock supper (after stabling the horse for the night).

Semi-day off

Wednesday 8th March 2017
Monday felt like spring with the frogs of Pundershaw forest bobbing in their spawning pools.  Today between the Tarset Burn and the river North Tyne a brisk cold wind diluted the warmth of the clear bright sun.