Monday, 29 December 2008
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Note to evening office; Take a walk on the wild side (often).
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Note to evening office: Faith is found often without seeing, but how our faith grows when we see. Such a simple thing as a piece of glass, which in itself - we need to look through and not at.
Lots of love
Every blessing for this Christmas time, receive Love - Peace - Hope.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Note to evening office: Is it wrong to be taken advantage of?
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Note to morning office: May I not presume to know anything but that I learn again each day.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Note to evening office: How can I value such beauty the world provides me?
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Monday, 28 July 2008
Note to evening office: Help me to see people as stones and shells; unique, and each one has a story.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
I have been quite blessed for walking recently as the car has been out of action. It started in Scotland, an intermittent ignition fault that finally cut out completely last week. So I have been walking to the drop-in all week; down through the woods, over the stepping stones and up by the old mill, along valley gardens and into the town (great). But the car is back now and I guess I am back the old routine.
Last weekend we took a bunch or kids away and stayed at an activities centre; we climbed trees, abseiled, did some archery, orienteering, a night walk and went down a very high zip wire. Yes of course I went on all of these (I am not too old to enjoy myself). It was good to see the changes in the kids over the weekend; one young lad stopped half way up the baby tree, but before the end of the weekend he had mastered the daddy tree, abseiled and gone down the big zip wire.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Perched in a prayer hole part way down the cliff, I spent a few hours watching the tide come in. St Cuthbert island is seen in the photo above and Bambrough castle was in the distance further to my left (second picture). Further round still is the Farne islands themselves.
So peaceful just listening to the sea, the gulls and watching the occasional seal. Taking time to soak up the history, the prayers from men of old from this Holy Island.
(right) The crypt at
Thank you to the guys that shared the weekend and for illuminating John's gospel.
Ps - the beer was good too....
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Sunday, 27 April 2008
I met with a young friend down by the sea front the other night and we enjoyed a beer together. I was struck by a number of searchers on the beach, what had they lost? They were so intent on their search, head down and kicking up stones and seaweed. Perhaps they weren't looking for anything specific, was this part of the missing DNA syndrome? can't help searching for something (don't know what)? We would say; it's in our jeans.
I remember walking on the beach some years ago, I was going to meet a young person who had spent the night in a cell [police, not monastic]. Head down and not in a rush. I picked up a stone, it was not very spectacular, pretty ugly actually; I would usually choose something with an interesting shape to play with in my hand before throwing it into the sea. As I turned it over I could see there was a hole washed right through, that in itself is not unusual round these parts. Inside there was something rattling, a shell - white, clean and shiny inside this dirty old piece of stone. I tried to shake it out, but it wouldn't come no matter which way I turned it. I came to the conclusion that it hadn't been washed in, rather it was washed out. The shell had been enclosed inside this prehistoric mud and the sea had washed a hole through to reveal this little shell and out of all the stones, I picked it up. This stone and it's shell live at the drop-in and I often use it when I'm talking to folk about beauty within. Perhaps that is what we are all constantly searching for - beauty and peace.
Note to evening office: Read that bit about the birds of the air and the flowers, not having to worry. For what God provides is sufficient.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Sunday, 20 April 2008
This picture of my cousins and yours truly (between the two boys) is taken close to the mill, it would be behind us and to the left.
"lets do it"
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Out and about with my camera the other morning, I didn't realise just how well the photo above was till it turned up on my PC. It wasn't even intentional, just a snap to see how the camera worked. Signs of new life on last years young stems and how these will grow this year; I think I am more taken with the colours in the background. Now, already people around us are venturing into their gardens clipping and trimming, I too have been pruning back the butterfly bushes. I am not a gardener, more of a potterer (I potter in the garden) doing a little of this and a little of that. The household does not have any gardening knowledge as such, just visitors and friends offering advice. I cleared some space around the silver birch (allow it some room for growth) - how often our own space is cluttered and restricts movement or time to be just still.
Remember the ginger biscuits? again, Saturday morning I was in the kitchen armed with ingredients and instructions. Putting them into the oven a few at a time was an advantage; getting the size of mixture just right to produce a reasonable biscuit was more tricky than the mixture itself. Again it is the things the recipe doesn't say that causes the problems (next time two heaped teaspoons of ginger).
In among my mums things I turned out something I used to play with as a boy, it lived in the dresser drawer and I don't remember it ever being used. I would aimlessly spin it round by the handle, it has a very smooth action. I don't think I ever asked what it was or if I did it would be filed under "not very interesting". So come on, who out there wants to hazard a guess as to what this device is used for; drop me a line - it's made out of that old stuff called bakalite - oh yes, let me give you a picture - that would help.
Note to evening office: Lord may I touch into your peace, which is a peace beyond our understanding and the faith to walk in it.
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Thursday, 3 April 2008
An old Quality Street tin that has accumulated bits n bobs was poured out on the kitchen table, long after all had gone to bed. Big sister would recognise most of these 1960's style buttons and buckles; miraculous medals appear in all Mum's boxes and drawers (the tin is no exception); a small crucifix next to a white overall button. There are random numbers from a game and metal puzzle chains, did the cog wheel come from one of my old trains and why did we keep it? An old fashioned collar stud and a dice; I wondered long and hard as to how the old curtain rail hook ran along the track. The colours don't really interest me but the shapes and what is that pipe thing? I took out some tiddlywinks and practised my skill; an old half penny and some of the buttons had thread left on (recycling is not a new idea).
Brother Cyril no doubt would give me some long explanations to all these haberdashery gadgets but I think I will just put them back in the tin. Really I should throw it away, especially now I know there are no hidden treasures but I guess it won't take up much room and I may be looking for a dice or safety pin one day.
Two days ago (early morning) I paused at the top landing window; I often spend a moment here taking in the view. At that moment a pair of swans came flying in from my left, they rose up along the valley and past the viaduct - I wanted to rush for my camera or binoculars but decided just to stand there, and watch the beauty of those enormous birds. Such long necks and a rear engine with massive wings Wow! They turned by the large hotel and headed in land, where were they going? I assumed swans stayed pretty close to their home base. I could not have been more impressed by a pair of Spitfires.
Life is chugging on quite slowly here and folk come and go; time itself seems to be passing quickly but the hands of the clock hardly move. I am aware of things approaching and of trying to fit it all in - then in one single moment, as I stop. This pair of swans fly right across my line of sight. As if they were waiting for me..
Monday, 17 March 2008
Time to ponder and turn over those photographs and post cards; the major tasks are done though I find myself looking for more. I was thinking yesterday, if I was to set out and write a book would I first consider the characters or the plot. would a story unfold given the right ingredients? Finding time to switch off I recently enjoyed a video (dvd), the basic story was simple but how things unwound were fascinating. How did the writer conceive it? My only conclusion was - he must have started at the end and worked backwards or flitting from one scene to another adding detail necessary for the next. I do wonder also whether God is working backwards with us; perhaps that would make more sense. Looking back I see better now, what had to happen to make the story fit.
One room of the friary has been transformed to accommodate the furniture and It is pleasant as the sun comes in clear and bright, Sitting at the desk (the old man) seems strange. It is many years since I sat there to do my homework. We call it the old man because my grand father made it; beginning in 1909 and taking a week off work to complete it before going to France in WW1. He served his time as a joiner at Harrison's of Grosmont (being related) he lived there a number of years eventually married and stayed at Grosmont before moving to Middlesbrough. The old man consists of a chest of drawers, drop own leaf desk with drawers and pigeon holes and on top of this is a tall glass cabinet. The dovetails and joints are perfect (granddad was fussy and particular in all things - sounds familiar)! Though he died when I was very young I remember sharing his toast; he did make a fuss of me and mum said I was difficult to console when he passed away. However, the old man was left to me all those years ago - now here it is. I found in the drawer a couple of postcards sent by granddad to his little daughter Barbara while he was in France.
There is a family resemblance of my gt granddad, granddad, father and myself; this is not unusual - but I do also look very much like my mother (still not unusual). However, I was recently at 60th party and people there I didn't know were glancing across and as the night went on someone said I looked a lot like a football manager who had recently been in the news. No I said, I am a Yorkshire man not an Italian. They insisted and went on to congratulate me on good work and followed with suggestions of who should play the next match. This feeling of fame stayed with me a while, as I walked through the town I imagined people giving me a second look and felt I was walking a little taller. Now I know nothing of the background of this guy, his family or his habits - but others were pleased to accept him as a potential champion. I can't change the way I look, and what happens if this manager goes the same way many others have done with bad news in the press of results on and off the pitch.
Thursday, 6 March 2008
1918 - 2008
Happy indeed, the spirit says; now they can rest forever after their work, since their good deeds go with them.Indeed she has taken many good deeds with her.
Mum became known as Bette, Aunty Bette to many, Grandma to more than just her own grand children. I knew there would be many at her funeral and I guessed there would be many I would not even know; her caring and love went far and wide (a challenge for us to try and continue). It has been a time of closing doors, not just the rented house where she lived. Finding treasures as we packed boxes, photos and post cards - her address books (invaluable) and the button tin.....
Now this button tin must hide many small treasures from days when I was but a small boy, often when I called in to see mum at home I might pick up a jug or open a drawer, expecting to find something I had forgotten; these and the button tin are currently packed in boxes either here or at my sisters. We plan to take our time and sort through together, the brass - fat old policeman corkscrew and a piece of Spitfre propeller. I must tell you about the furniture too (the Old Man) but that will be another day.
Note to evening office - slow down a little and let things settle.
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Burn's night 25th January and for the last few years it has been spent with close friends. We attempt to get our toungs around the Scottish dialect and recite some of the great poet's words; what fun! and the food and drink is good for both body and spirit.
A toast to the Haggis piped in with great ceremony followed by neeps n tatties; will there be room for pudding? Oh yes! says Fr Gerry. The lads toast the lassies and the lassies toast the lads (more whiskey) ending with old lang syne.
Time goes so quickly and folk are on their way - blessings and haste ye back. The washing up and putting away is soon complete and the kitchen eases into a lull. The CD player in the corner is still strumming out sounds of The Corries, I pull up a chair and settle down to a plate of cheese and oatcakes; I convinced myself it would taste much better with a dram of whiskey.
The wind was whistling round the house end and seemed intent on moving anything in it's path. Yet the haunting sound of the pipes and flute pushed the wind into the distance and memories of Scotland; another kitchen, accordion and voices came flooding back to me. A quick check round before I go to bed, the dinning room where we all had sat and as I saw where each had been, I blessed each one and went to bed.
Note to evening office: Count – literally – your blessings. Enumerate your reasons to be cheerful. Only then pray your complaints!
Sunday, 13 January 2008
Saturday morning and it seems the whole household has slept in; Oh joy. So why am I awake? Would it not be easier to tun over and sleep for another hour? From where I lay, my windows field of view, is grey sky with clouds moving quickly from the North west. The sun is rising but has not reached my horizon; seagulls fly - alight with the morning sun, blown around by the strong wind they dart this way and that to reach their destination.
Perhaps I should make a cup of tea? heading for the kitchen I pause at the landing window, the sun has reached the wooded hillside across the valley, light is pushing a line of darkness down, down like a large curtain unfolding colour of rich browns and red. - More movement in the house and the moment of wonder is lost; till the next time I stop, look and notice.