Saturday, 31 July 2010

First week back

I can't believe that I've already been back at work for a week already. It's been surprisingly tiring trying to catch up with what happened and whats not happened during my 3 months away. It's been great to see people again and to be able to spend time chatting and catching up with folk. A highlight has been having a cuddle of the youngest member of the congregation - just over one month old and she was definitely smiling at me!

I was ready for my day off yesterday. Richard and I went up to Hylands Park near Chelmsford where we enjoyed a walk before having lunch in the cafe. It was the first time we'd been there and Richard was amazed to see the amount of work that had been done one the house and grounds as he has memories of playing there as a teenager.

There were loads of butterflies and dragonflies darting around, too quick for me to take photos. The original gardens and parkland were designed by the landscape gardener Humprhey Repton who lived for some years in Gidea Park.

Our journey home was delayed by an accident on the A12. As we sat in the traffic an air ambulance arrived as did several fire engines, a police car and an ambulance.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

End of my Sabbatical

I'm officially back at work today (and I have been working,) but a few final postings from the last couple of days.

The smoke billowing around as the candles were snuffed out in chapel made me think of Psalm 141

O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

I felt I really ought to finish my Sabbatical postings with a reflection, hence the picture of the candle reflected in the chalice.

Wood Carving

A large tree has recently been removed at Shepherd's Dene as it had become dangerous. The wood from this is being used for a large woodcarving and during the week I was there the woodcarver spent time working on his creation. As the week progressed so did the detail and texture of the carving - there is still more work to be done.

Hadrian's Wall

On Thursday a few of us went to Hadrian's Wall. Once again the weather wasn't very good - it didn't rain while we were there but the rain wasn't far off. Although the light wasn't very good for photography we enjoyed a good walk.

Breakfast visitor

While I was eating my breakfast the other morning I spotted this spider spinning a web on the flowers on the table. How often we miss the very things going on under our noses. It has been good to have time whilst on Sabbatical where I have felt able to "sit and see" rather than just rushing around.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

some sun!

The sun actually came out today. After lunch I walked to Corbridge, about 45 minutes each way. By the time we returned it was quite warm and I wished I had taken my sunhat and a bottle of water rather than my waterproof.

The bright field

The Bright Field


I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying


on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.


R. S. Thomas


From little acorns mighty oak trees grow.




I found an apple
A red and shining apple
I took its photograph

I hid the apple in the attic
I opened the skylight
and the sun said Ah!

At night I checked that it was safe,
under the giggling stars,
and the sly moon. My cool apple.

Whatever you are calling about,
I am not interested.
Go away. You with the big teeth.


Carol Ann Duffy

Shepherds Dene

I'm spending a few days at Shepherds Dene retreat house. It began raining just as the train left Newcastle on Monday and carried on raining most of Tuesday, with the odd short break in between. Most of my photos from Tuesday are of drips!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Introducing our cat - Lucy

I'm a great believer that life isn't always easy and for things to succeed you have to be prepared to work at them, I think this is particularly true of marriage. Not only do you have to be prepared to accept the ups and downs of married life but I believe that one of the ways to work at a successful marriage is to be prepared to compromise.

When the band "The Proclaimers" first began I wasn't particularly fond of their music but over the years they have grown on me, I really enjoyed seeing them playing live at Greenbelt a few years ago. I was given one of their CDs at Christmas and have been listening to it quite a lot in the car and have been impressed by many of the lyrics.

One of my favourite tracks is "Let's get married" a song which gives lots of good advice about marriage and picks up on the idea of compromise. Having grown up in a family of dog lovers I wondered how I would cope as Richard's family had always had cats. We've taken the advice in "Lets Get Married" you can get a cat as long as it barks...

V&A - bread of life

"Hungry for the Bread of Life" Paten

I loved this silver paten when I saw it. It is inspired by the words of St John's Gospel, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry." The figures were added to a plain paten. I found the shadows created very intriguing. The shadows in the photo aren't as sharp as I'd like but it's not that easy with a compact camera with autofocus through a glass cabinet (always blame the tools!) Perhaps I'll just have to find time to go back another day.

V&A - the real thing

"The real Thing Crucifix"


This cross (not a crucifix) is decorated with Coca-Cola bottle tops and was created in Rwanda.

V&A - Ichthys Font

Last night we had a girls night out to the V&A. We had supper there and then a chance to wander round until it closed at 10pm. It was great doing something like this together, our previous museum trips tended to be to the Science Museum and Natural History Museum with youngsters.

Ichthys Font

This beautiful glass font by Colin Reid is the prize for an awards scheme for an Artwork in Ecclesiastical Space that the

Art and Christianity Trust (ACE) have set up. Ace promotes understanding of the links between religion and the visual arts. Although displayed at the V&A this trophy is loaned every two years for temporary display in the winners' venue.

The design of the font recalls the Greek word for fish ichthus, whose letters represent the words for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. This fish symbol was used by early Christians to communicate their baptismal faith.

Faith gone from Romford

It's often been said to me that Romford is a dull, soulless place which is full of chavs, drunks & druggies, especially at the weekend. I've argued this not to be true but wonder if this photo proves that there is no faith left in Romford! 

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

more chocolate

There have been several themes recurring during my Sabbatical - pilgrimage, reflections and now chocolate
I've done a variety of things today. This morning I went to a communion service in a local church, it was good to share with others in worship (and coffee.) You can see some of it reflected in the ewer by the font.
I met a friend for lunch and came home with a bar of chocolate as he'd won several bars in the Church Times caption competition and felt I deserved one as I'd put up with his bad jokes for years!
When I arrived home I wondered if I'd come to the right place as we'd had tree surgeons in today cutting down some of the trees in the Vicarage drive - it now feels really light and open, especially up by the house.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Tuesday 13th July - The View from the Window

I spent much of yesterday and today trying to create a couple of photo books on my computer. After one major disaster I got there eventually; I've just got to wait 'till they arrive at the end of the week.
The View from the Window


Like a painting it is set before one,
But less brittle, ageless; these colours
Are renewed daily with variations
Of light and distance that no painter
Achieves or suggests. Then there is movement,
Change, as slowly the cloud bruises
Are healed by sunlight, or snow caps
A black mood; but gold at evening
To cheer the heart. All through history
The great brush has not rested,
Nor the paint dried; yet what eye,
Looking coolly, or, as we now,
Through the tears' lenses, ever saw
This work and it was not finished?


R. S. Thomas

Sunday 11th July - Chocolate

On Sunday afternoon Richard & I went to a chocolate making workshop with friends. As it was probably the hottest Sunday of the year we probably didn't pick the best day to go. It was great fun if rather messy. It was good to hear the chocolatier say that fair trade chocolate is usually always high quality and as well as people being paid a fair price, corners aren't cut in its production. Sounds like a good reason to eat more chocolate! We had taken a cool bag with us so were able to bring our creations home without them melting - even if we did.
We finished making our chocolates and then enjoyed a nice cold beer. A stroll took us to Covent Garden where we had dinner in a Moroccan restaurant before heading home to see the end of the football.

Saturday 10th July - Dove

This white dove spent much of Saturday in the garden.

Bird or Beast?


Did any bird come flying

  After Adam and Eve,

When the door was shut against them

  And they sat down to grieve?


I think not Eve's peacock

  Splendid to see,

And I think not Adam's eagle;

  But a dove may be.


Did any beast come pushing

  Through the thorny hedge

Into the thorny thistly world,

  Out from Eden's edge?


I think not a lion,

  Though his strength is such;

But an innocent loving lamb

  May have done as much.


If the dove preached from her bough

  and the lamb from his sod,

The lamb and dove

  Were preachers sent from God.


Christina Rossetti

Fwd: Thursday 8th July - Kindertransport

This bronze statue is on one of the forecourts outside Liverpool Street Station, Hope Square. It is by Frank Meisler. It commemorates "Kindertransport" and the ten thousand children who were rescued from Nazi Germany and Austria to Britain between 1938 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and transported to Liverpool Street Station.

Wednesday 7th July - no time to stand and stare

Commuting through Liverpool Street each day I was aware of the mad rushing around of individuals. The only time people seemed to stand and stare was at the arrivals and departures board.




What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows:


No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.


No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.


No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.


No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.


A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


William Henry Davies

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Old and New

On my way home after a busy day I was struck by some of the buildings around Liverpool Street; the old co-existing with the new. Even the older buildings have undergone transformation with the modern shopfronts of pret a manger and Costa.
How good are we in our churches about allowing change to happen? Do we allow things to be adapted to meet our current needs or do we insist on everything remaining exactly as it always has been? Or perhaps we feel that we are guilty of changing everything and of not allowing anything to remain constant.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Liverpool Street Station

I've gone back to being a commuter this week and took this photo of the reflection in the glass at Liverpool Street on my way home this evening.
I'm taking part in a course in "Mediating Interpesonal Conflict" run by bridgebuilders. This is building on the work I did last year on "Transforming Church Conflict." I'm just glad it is only for a week; travelling for an hour and a half each way isn't a lot of fun, especially with a busy day of training. Better think about heading off to bed as I need to leave just after 7.00 :-(

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The little stone

How happy is the little Stone
How happy is the little Stone

That rambles in the Road alone,

And doesn't care about Careers

And Exigencies never fears –

Whose Coat of elemental Brown

A passing Universe put on,

And independent as the Sun

Associates or glows alone,

Fulfilling absolute Decree

In casual simplicity

Emily Dickinson

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Bradwell Pilgrimage

I spent today at the Bradwell Pilgrimage. I found myself wondering how long it would have taken Cedd to travel from Lindisfarne to Bradwell in 653AD. He sailed down the east coast. A journey which would not have been easy or comfortable - no luxury yachts then. I expect that Cedd's journey took less time than mine; it was the 28th April that I left Linisfarne. Admittedly my route hasn't been quite so direct; I've been via Aberdeen, Exeter, Suffolk, the Holy Land and Liverpool amongst others, not to mention a few visits back to Gidea Park!

Women Bishops?

The speaker today at the Bradwell Pilgrimage was the Archbishop of York - John Sentamu. The theme was "who is my neighbour?"

I took this photo beside the WATCH stand in the refreshment and stalls marquee when Bishop Laurie was taking the Archbishop on a whistle stop tour. I think cropping the photo shows how important the backdrop can be!

Hope this bodes well for the debate at General Synod next weekend.

Friday, 2 July 2010

water drops

I usually associate Robert Graves with his war poems
Dew-drop and Diamond


The difference between you and her
(whom I to you did once prefer)
Is clear enough to settle:
She like a diamond shone, but you
Shine like an early drop of dew
Poised on a red rose petal.

The dew-drop carries in its eye
Mountain and forest, sea and sky,
With every change of weather;
Contrariwise, a diamond splits
The prospect into idle bits
That none can piece together.

Robert Graves

Thursday, 1 July 2010



There were lots of gulls on the beach at Aldeburgh today, especially round the fish sheds.