Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Limber hill












Beggars bridge – Glaisdale North Yorkshire, earlier this year and in better weather.

Extremely slippy this morning, cars were struggling to negotiate the minor roads, the melting snow had frozen to a sheet of glass, but determined drivers spun on; this all reminded me of a youthful pastime.

Just beyond Beggars bridge is the steepest road in England – Limber hill’s gradient is 1-in-3 and back in the 60’s there was a polite notice at the bottom of the hill, “Stop your vehicle and engage first gear”. These were the days before synchromesh gears and foolhardy drivers would charge at the hill, expecting to reach the top. We would sit at the river side and watch the cars approaching, guessing; will he make it or won’t he? Such laughter as the embarrassed driver reversed back down the hill.

There was also much fun to be had beyond Ashley house and the tennis courts, for this is where we would take our bikes. We would push our rickety old two wheelers as far up the bank as we dared and free wheeled all the way to “The Travellers Rest inn” – all this and sliding down the Nab till our jeans were as green as the bracken.

Note to evening office: Main roads are usually clear but we will not reach home until we negotiate the slippery side roads.

P1060307Bellwood house Ugthorpe – built by my Gt Grandfather

Monday, 28 December 2009



Early morning mist is clearing, revealing woodland and home; for those awakening in the houses below it must seem a bleak looking day. The air is crisp and to see so far in the clear light is encouraging, this is a morning walk before the snow we have today.

I don’t often amaze myself but recently a friend recommended a book “The Christmas Mystery” by Jostein Gaarder – I read this book in less than a week, which for me is unheard of. Some of the quotes that will remain with me are :-

“But it is important to be happy about the little you have. However little it is, it's infinitely more than nothing”.

“There are two ways of becoming wise. One is to travel out into the world and see as much as possible of God's creation. The other is to put down roots in one spot and to study everything that happens there in as much detail as you can. The trouble is that it's impossible to do both at the same time”.

“God's kingdom is open to everyone, even people who travel without a ticket”.

Regarding the lovely wild flowers – the angel nodded mysteriously “They are part of the glory of heaven that has strayed down to earth” he explained. “You se there is so much glory in heaven that it can easily spill over”.

This book reveals more than just a Christmas mystery and as it came to the closing chapters, I did not want it to end; I didn’t want to know the answers, I was more than happy with the story itself.

Note to evening office: something revealed is not necessarily earth shattering.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Cards


I am surrounded by Christmas cards, address’s, lists of contacts; and there are so many. Already the postman has delivered a good bundle of greetings and wishes of good health this festive season. Each one is a moment in itself, full of memories and longing to be wherever they are. Recapturing times of laughter and tears – deep feelings of belonging to so many places and times, it sets the emotions in a spin. Primarily guilt, I should have spoken to this person sooner – has it really been a year since we wrote to each other.

I believe there is a knowing between such folk, that - if needs must - we would be there for each other; as it is – what is pressing, are other matters and they need to be attended to. However, it is good to escape to the daily visit of the postman and indulge in affectionate memories.

Note to evening office: I thank the Lord that I have the capacity to love to the level that I am – and that is sufficient for the plan He has for me.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Brer Rabbit


I decided to purchase a Brer Rabbit story book as a birthday present for someone special; there's nothing strange about that? This all began when I was talking to a young mother who was separated from her 7-year old son and struggling making ends meet. She wanted to buy him something nice for Christmas but clearly hadn’t the money to spare; the boy had almost everything he wanted, this was not something she could compete with. I tried to hint for her to make something but art & craft were not her thing.

I began to tell her about my Aunt Celia and how we would go down each night to fasten in the chickens, her bedtime stories were famous to many of us children and I’m sure many more after us. She had time for us and made us feel special; after all the Christmas presents are gone and forgotten, its about those who made you feel special.

My Aunt Celia is also my godmother and it is her birthday next week, so the Brer Rabbit book is for her. A book to say thank you for all the bedtime stories, even the night she threw my teddy to me and burst my nose! Perhaps it was Aunt Celia that inspired my story telling.

Note to morning office: Help me make someone feel special today.


Thursday, 10 December 2009


Music by Ennio Morricone – Gabriel’s oboe.

Gabriel, second in the rank of archangels, one of seven angels who stand ever-ready to enter the presence of God and be his messenger to mankind. He interpreted for Daniel the vision of the Ram and the He-goat, which foretold the destruction of the Persian empire. According to tradition he announced to Joachim and Anna the impending conception St Mary the virgin and told Zacharias that he would become the father of St John the Baptist.  His supreme task was as the angel of the Annunciation when he was sent to tell Mary that she was the woman chosen to bear Jesus. Although not named, Gabriel is also assumed to be the angel who announced the birth of Samson to his mother and the one who brought glad tidings at the birth of the Messiah to the shepherds. According to tradition it was Gabriel who comforted Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane. He is also revered in Islam because he dictated the Koran to Mahomet.

It is said that it is Gabriel that will sound the horn to announce the end of time. Advent, (coming) a time of expectant waiting and preparation.

Note to morning office: Am I ready?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas rush


Pier twirl

Inevitably we all get caught up in the rush towards Christmas, there is no escape – (even in a friary).

When charging down a hill on a bike with poor brakes, we would use our feet to stop and get into trouble for scuffing our shoes. Arriving late to a party with wind swept hair,  clothing wet and crumpled; makes us feel like turning round and missing it completely.

 The event is already prepared for us, it is our presence that is required; not our presents.

Monday, 7 December 2009



A strange dream last night, I saw the Earth in the night sky from my kitchen window. Apart from being in the kitchen I knew I had not left planet Earth and that in fact I was looking at a mirage effect; a reflection of Earth from somewhere out in the solar system. The vision captivated me and I wanted to rush for the camera, though I knew it may last for only a few seconds.

What are dreams all about? Well I am not into analysing that kind of stuff! However, the thought of being able to look at ourselves (given this momentary window) is something to ponder on - at least for today.

Have a great week. – David..

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Getting ahead


Its the time of year when I wish I had done more preparation. The Christmas card list should be there to pick up, complete with current address and post codes. As it is I will be, once again relying on my poor memory and hoping not to forget anyone.

Efforts to re-organise my diary have been successful, I now use Outlook and keep appointments that before, too often escaped me. However, this did not extend to my home/ personal life and Tuesday caught me out once again; these are my worst nightmares, letting people down, seeming that I don’t care. Back to the drawing board and I am now running a dual calendar in Outlook (what an amazing program) and nothing should be lost; I can even print out a month ahead and drop it into my filo-fax.

Br Cyril makes me smile, he tends to wear multiple layers of vest, shirt, jersey and cardigans; this reminds me of Aunt Mary. She would potter around in more skins than an onion and would say “well, if I gets ta hot I can all’as tak yan off” [Yorkshire dialect]. Its not long ago that there was no such thing as central heating or even electric lights, carrying a candle to bed with a hot water bottle was common. Doing a little Christmas shopping last night I looked at the new LED TV screens; the picture quality is incredible. Only two or three years ago the in thing was Plasma or LCD – 38 years ago, TV’s were powered by glass valves and colour was still a new idea. What next? I hear 3D TV is in the offing.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Eye water



Early morning at the friary and I thought I had better do a little ironing (we are a little behind in that department). iPod plugged in and the rest of the world slipped into another space.

My good friend Dana wrote recently about tears and I had to say to her this is not a common state for me. Perhaps it was the music – The Priests, Pie Jesu. There is something about Latin, sung and with such emotion; my eyes filled up and I didn’t know why. I am of an age that still remembers the Latin Mass, Benediction and Corpus Christi marches through the town. This emotional water is more than just nostalgia, more than reminiscing;  my feelings were that of the communion of saints.

Note to morning office: Communion of saints extends to those still with us; who shall we meet today?