Thursday, 29 December 2016
Saturday, 24 December 2016
Sunday, 18 December 2016
"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and
wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger"
We know this verse so well as part of the Nativity narrative, but have you ever given a thought as to what "swaddling clothes" (or 'swaddling bands') actually are?
A quick search of the internet shows that 'swaddling a child' is an ancient and modern practise. When my first born child was born in 1971 the midwife wrapped her tightly in a blanket immediately after birth..."to mimic the close space of the womb". That we understand...but what about the bands themselves?
In Mary's day a Jewish woman prepared for the birth of her child by making a set of swaddling bands. Strips of fine wool, lovingly embroidered, ready to receive the precious gift.
Do you remember the security blankets your children and grandchildren carried around with them and wrapped themselves in at bed time.
How many of us curl up under a favourite blanket when in need of comfort.
And how good it is to snuggle under a blanket (or duvet!) on a chilly night
Luke thought that swaddling clothes were important enough to include in his Nativity narrative.
God's gift of His son Jesus to grow and live on earth, and finally to die for us on the cross was God's way of wrapping His arms around us and saying..
"I love you"
Wrap yourself in a blanket today
Thursday, 15 December 2016
Once a week I join my daughter as she takes the dogs on their mid morning walk.
At this time of year when the vegetation has either been cut down or naturally died down we like to walk right round the lake in a nearby nature reserve.
That way we get a better chance of seeing the over wintering inhabitants.
In a previous post I had you counting the number of Cormorants who had arrived for the winter.
This time we disturbed a lonely 'Little Egret' as we walked past where he was sitting. Usually there are three or four of them but this is the first we have seen.
For some reason the Heron was perched up in a tree...centre of photo.
Then we saw why...there was another Heron sitting in his usual spot on the bank, ...or perhaps this one is the new comer?
We rounded the corner where the path runs alongside the River Freshney.
One of the dogs just loves water and tends to jump in and out of the river.
This time she jumped out with this rather large Crab in her mouth!!!
Dead one and rather smelly..goodness knows where it had come from. A Crab who lives in sea water would not normally be found in a freshwater river.
Perhaps a Seagull had grabbed it and found it too heavy to carry...or it was someones dinner that they decided to toss.
Who knows....it gave us a good laugh anyway.
The dog wanted to carry it home, which my daughter was not too keen on, so we reluctantly left it behind!
Thought I would share with you what I have done to my cupboard door.
Didn't tell Husband , it took him three days to notice....
The hole in the middle of the door is for the cat...this is the cupboard under the stairs where she hides when there is any loud noise or fireworks.
It is her safe place (the door is normally shut)
So it just remains for me to say Christmas Blessings to all my lovely readers
......share this calligraphy message that my Father made in 1961 and has been put up at Christmas every years since, I have been it's keeper since 1994
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
It has been a year of funerals....
It started in late February with the sudden death of one of my extended family members...
....followed two weeks later by the death of his wife.
They were both over eighty but in good health.
And so it has continued through the year...
The sudden death of a friend one year younger than I am.
Then the death of two friends from church, one expected the other so very sudden.
She was buzzing around serving coffee after church on the Sunday then going to bed on the Thursday said to her husband that she didn't feel very well and minutes later was dead.
Then two weeks ago we had the sudden death of our young neighbour.
His death resounded far and wide as he was something of a star
On the same day a friends husband also died, peacefully at home after a long illness.
And now on the run up to Christmas the last two over eighty members of my extended family are terminally ill and will not live very long.
OK, you will say; why am I telling you this?
Because out of all these deaths, only two were Christians and their deaths and funerals were celebrations of joy and hope and thanksgiving.
I confess as a christian I struggle with knowing what to say to comfort relatives of non Christians when there is no hope, when they all see death as final.
For non Christians death is the end.
For the two who are facing death and especially their nearest and dearest, they are in a state of denial. There are numerous conversations about what they will do when they get better and so on.
Perhaps it is just me, but death is something that you have to prepare for before it is too late.
There are things to be said, people to see not this continual ignoring of it.
This is hard on the rest of the family.
The Grandson of one of the people in final stages of cancer wants to spend time with his Grandmother, to talk about her life and her coming death, just to share time with her...
....but his Mother continues to deny him, and his siblings this opportunity because "there is nothing wrong", "she isn't that ill"
Dying remains a great taboo here in UK. Something that is discussed in hushed tones and never ever fully acknowledged in public, even among some Christians.
People will discuss their sex lives quite openly to all and sundry but when it comes to the end of life it rarely gets a mention.
My Father discussed his dying and death two years before it happened, and he had planned his own funeral celebration. My Mother was also comfortable with talking about it.
Uhm...am sorry, this post is rather rambling and I don't seem to have expressed myself very well at all. But I hope you get the idea of what am trying to say.
It has just been a hard year with so many losses , so many funerals and more to come.
Tuesday, 22 November 2016
We have discovered a new wood to walk in,we didn't know was there.
so it came as a wonderful surprise
It is hidden from sight in between busy streets and at the back of the Water Works.
We turned left off the main road into town expecting it to be a dead end, but we wanted to look at these old cottages.
Then we came upon this sign..
The wood, or 'gardens' as they are called on the sign, are all enclosed with specific entry points for visitors.
So we ventured in....
....and saw this.....
........venturing further in...
This caught my eye, some sort of fungus I think on the top of a tree stump..
Sorry the photo is rather fuzzy but I took these pictures on my phone instead of my usual digital camera....that was still sitting on the kitchen table.
There was also this mysterious looking hole..
We found the two artesian wells mentioned on the sign..
....but only got a photograph of one. The other one was well camouflaged by reeds and didn't like to get too close as the ground was exceedingly boggy.
We walked to the end, it is a long and thin strip of secluded wood land.
Did notice rather a lot of Blackberry bushes that still had old fruits on, no one had picked them.
So will remember that next summer.
Then back to the main entrance and back on to the road.
What a little gem
We will be back
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
It has been cold today(by UK standards!)at -5.3'C this morning at 8.0am as husband went of to work.
Our area has had numerous weather warnings yesterday and today of impending snow.
After a morning spent wrapping up Christmas parcels ready for posting thought that I would wrap myself up warm and go off for a walk at 2.0pm.
Since my accident my long walks have been sadly limited so have not been tramping the fields .
Thought it was time I gave you a 'walk' as have not done so for a while.
So off we go over the bridge and into the nature reserve.
The Cormorants come in from the coast and overwinter on the lake.
Last year there were not many as we did not have that much cold weather.
Wonder how many are here today?
It looks a bit grim doesn't it?
The reeds have grown tall and out of control. But due to council cut backs there is no longer a permanent warden or maintenance team so the lake has run wild.
In order to survive it needs to be sympathetically managed, which is has not been for the last two or three years.
No sign of the Swans today, plenty of ducks though.
Brr...it is chilly, can see my breath in the air.
It is rather deserted and the clouds are rolling in,
Let me see how many Cormorants I can count..
There are thirteen, never seen so many.
Sign that we are in for some bad weather.
You will have to enlarge the photograph to count them all.
One has his wings spread wide, they do that to catch the warmth of the sun, not much about today.
Just look at that sky...certainly time I was heading for home.
Doesn't that dead tree covered in Ivy look menacing?
This last bit is rather muddy, glad I have my sturdy boots on.
Thanks for joining me.
Sunday, 30 October 2016
Regular readers to the blog will know that we have a very small, concrete back yard.
Not to be deterred by lack of a garden I planted up several large tubs, of which there are now thirteen trees, some larger than others.
This was the view from my kitchen door this morning at 8.30am, slightly damp but that did not dampen the glorious autumn golds of the deciduous trees.
So thought that I would take you for a closer look
(The white thing in the middle of the photo is my rotary washing line, covered up for the winter)
In the foreground is one of two Horse Chestnut trees,
grown from Conkers picked up on one of my walks two years ago.
If you look closely next years buds have already formed.
As children we always called these "Sticky buds".....because they are, very sticky.
I wonder why? Uhm...must look that up
Then there is my old friend, the Oak tree. It is twenty seven years old now,
It has been in this pot for the last nine years.
This year it has produced so many acorns and a visiting Squirrel has been busy collecting them. Have no idea where he has hidden them.
This Fuchsia is still a mass of flowers.
These blooms are too high for the cat to reach.
She treats them like Christmas tree decorations and bats them with her paws until they fly off.
And finally....the Gnomes have now moved into their winter accommodation.
Hopefully they will be safe from the frosts and heavy winds.
Monday, 24 October 2016
I love trees, always have done.
I grew up in the Derbyshire Peak District, and my parents were walkers...
.....so was I from the time I could walk!
My Father was a great reader of Tolkien and always called trees Ents, teaching me that they were living entities and should be respected as such.
Which I have continued to do.
Watching the leaves falling around me as I took a walk to the post office this morning, made me think.......
God had a great idea when He chose a tree as a symbol for growing Christians.
Tree branches on growing trees not only reach higher...
....their roots grow deeper and wider.
It is impossible for a strong tree to have high branches without having deep roots.
It would be come top heavy and in strong winds would topple over.
The same is true of Christians
It is impossible to grow in the Lord without entwining our roots around His Word,
and deepening our life by obeying his commands.
There are other parallels too.
A growing tree will always provide shade and comfort for other trees and plants growing up under and beside it.
A growing tree takes in light and processes it for food
(as we do with God's Word)
Such a tree is always able to reproduce itself.
A growing tree is often pruned to help it grow straighter and taller.
Sometimes, the best trees give their lives for others for timber, for building.
May my roots grow deep in the Word and may my branches grow high.
When winds of adversity come, then I will remain strong.
The photo above is of Pike Pool in Beresford Dale.
My Mothers ashes were scattered here; at her request as it was her favourite place in the Peak.
My Father requested that his ashes be scattered under a specific Oak Tree....where else
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Sunday 16th October to Sunday 23rd October marks the 42nd year of the
Week of Prayer for World Peace
This week of prayer for peace comes as the British, US and French special forces and paratroopers support push by the Kurdish forces from east and Iraqi army from south in a battle to capture Mosul,the last known ISIS stronghold.
We pray especially for all the innocent civilians caught up in this warfare.
Although it was a Christian initiative that led to the founding of the Week of Prayer for World Peace in 1974, it soon became an inter faith activity, and now welcomes everyone, of all faith traditions or none, to take part. The first Chairman,the late Dr. Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster, established the guiding principle of the Week in the words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world”, and this is still the basis of our work today.
For those who want to persevere with the idea of praying with people of other faiths, three thoughts may be helpful.
For those who want to persevere with the idea of praying with people of other faiths, three thoughts may be helpful.
- First, the different prayers that we say are said by neighbours in the same town and the same street every week. In worshipping together we simply bring under one roof what happens anyway under the same sky.
- Secondly, we are convinced that there is only one humanity that prays, and only one Divinity that we pray to, whatever different opinions we may have about that one Divinity.
- Thirdly, we recognise that inter faith partnership does not itself imply agreement.
The things we agree on are many, and precious. The things we disagree on are precious too. When we stand with a follower of another faith who is praying, whenever we can agree with the prayer, we give it our interior assent. Where we cannot agree, we withhold our interior assent. It is still good to stand with that person as a friend and as a partner.
The International Prayer for Peace
Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.
Saturday, 15 October 2016
An email from my son this morning with news of 'Micky T.'
He is now home again, looking extremely thin and battered.
His bottom jaw is now held together with screws,pins and wire, and a gap at the front where the bone was too badly shattered to be repaired.
We also noticed that the photo shows his left eye is totally occluded with cataract.
Son says that he is slowly eating, though on semi solids and very messy.
Welcome home Ginge.
Friday, 14 October 2016
I was telling you in my last blog post that I had been recalled to Cardiac Clinic due to the finding of an "anomaly" in my last echo cardiogram.....
well.................this is why!!
I have a hole in my heart....
Not what I was expecting and rather took me by surprise I can tell you.
Consultant was very informative, drew lots of diagrams to illustrate what exactly is going on with my 'wobbly atrial septum' which is what showed up on the echo gram.
What I can't understand is that it wasn't there six months ago.
Or rather, it didn't show up then. It has been there since birth apparently. Who knew?
As I have already had one TIA two years ago and the Consultant says that this hole puts me at a much greater risk of having a full blown stroke.
So what now?
I have four more appointments lined up for the first two weeks in November and several more tests to undergo before a final decision is made about the need for 'closure' of this tiny hole.
And it is a tiny hole, if it was any larger I would not be alive
That is not as dramatic as it sounds as it is just like having an Angiogram...
......of which I have had several.
I am nearly seventy years old, death is nothing to be afraid of,
God is good and am assured of eternal life.
Monday, 10 October 2016
Musing Number 1
Have been having a sort out which posed a question.....
What do I do with all the notebooks that I have used as prayer journals and bible study notes?
Do I keep them? If so, for how long?
My family won't want them 'after I've gone'; so do I get rid of them now?
What do you do with your old note books?
My journals I have kept for decades and they will be saved as my 'legacy' if you like.
IF...any of the children or grandchildren want to read them!
They may not; I haven't asked them.
Perhaps I should?
Meanwhile, the pile of old notebooks pile up.
I won't show you the pile of shiny new notebooks,just waiting to be written in!!!!
Have to confess that I do buy rather a lot of them, in an assortment of sizes....
......especially if they are on offer.
It seems that my two youngest grandchild also have a liking for notebooks too.
Musing Number 2
Saturday afternoon brought a phone call from a very distressed son to say that some *******person
had kicked his elderly ginger cat like a football to boot him out of the way.
This cat has a habit of sitting in the middle of peoples drives and nonchalantly moving out of the way. A new neighbour down the street objected.
"Micky T" sustained a badly fractured jaw, but thankfully no more broken bones.
Yesterday the vet operated on him but his jaw is too badly shattered in one place and that part has had to be removed completely.
Thank goodness for Pet Insurance he said
Now we wait and pray to see if this elderly cat can eat and drink with his wonky jaw, if not.....
My son is a softy when it comes to his cats, he has three.
( and three rabbits and a tank full of tropical fish as well)
Musing Number 3
This is a 'knee update'....... had my final hospital check up last week. The bones have healed OK, but will now be prone to arthritis. The number of times my age is mentioned makes me want to tear my hair out.
Sometimes I think that the doctors just use age as an excuse!!!!!
Anyway...knee and ligaments have reached a state of 80% return to 'before accident' and apparently are not likely to improve much more due to my ..
..you guessed it....age....grrr
Walking is fine, but can't walk as far as 'before' and knee starts hurting after about thirty minutes walking. So my two hour tramping the fields walks have been greatly reduced. Am hoping with increased usage the strength and stamina builds up again slowly.
And then...this afternoon I have to report to the Cardiac Clinic yet again...
.....a recall this time as my last batch of routine tests " threw up an anomaly"
Goodness knows what that is all about? I know my heart leaks and is getting worse, I know that the blood and nerve supply to my left leg is getting worse.......
.....and the reason for all this decay is...you guessed it......my age.....grrrr
Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Uhm....perhaps this blog post should be called the "Monday Moan"
Monday, 26 September 2016
It wasn't until I uploaded this photo of the new fence...before I painted it a fetching shade of green.... that I noticed the 'supervisor' on the front doorstep!!
She is wearing a soft cat collar to stop her scratching at the allergic eczema rash on her back.
She tolerates this far better than the vet supplied big plastic collars...and much cheaper too.
Can highly recommend them
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
The workmen have finally GONE......after nearly three weeks!
It started like this...
...a nice little blue bathroom, the only thing out of place was the oversized sink that the previous owner of the house had installed. Liveable with......BUT.......my husband has always disliked it and has been saying since we moved in in 2007 that one day he would get it changed.
So he has.
An appointment was made with the bathroom design team at our local "Band Q" for the 21st May,
Then on 20th May I had my accident and was immobile and not able to attend the meeting.
So off husband went by himself.
He knew what my thoughts were for this new bathroom but he had other ideas
and came home with this......
....a layout totally changed......oh well. A date was set for work to began. My husband would happily go off to work each morning leaving me at home to contend with the inconveniences of having no toilet , a house full of workmen and a terrorised cat who hates loud noises of any kind.
Then on Saturday 3rd all the 'stuff' was delivered and filled the kitchen which is the largest room in the house...
It also meant that we were reduced to eating meals on trays on our knees in the sitting room. This is something we both hate and never do, much preferring to eat sitting down at the table.
Workmen turned up at 8.0am on the Monday morning...they were coming in as husband was going off to catch the bus.
I had made 'toilet arrangements'in the small outhouse we have in the back yard and the cat took refuge under the stairs for the next two and a bit weeks.
On day three this is what was left of our little blue bathroom....
....and outside in the front garden was this....
When the tiles came off one of the side walls, so did most of the wall plaster, that had to be renewed, adding another two days onto the working schedule.
On day nine when the tiles were up, the bath and shower in and the side wall re plastered and painted the next job was to find the main pipes coming off the central heating boiler to connect the pipes needed to install a radiator in the bathroom......what a day that was!
It was a case of 'hunt the pipe' as the pipes were not in the place the plumber expected them to be and as the floor kept coming up, first on the landing, then the adjacent bedroom, he was just about ready to give up but decided to just have "one more look"....and finally the main pipes were found.
This is the resulting mess.....and another day added on to the schedule
Next day the radiator was connected and installed in place on the replastered and repainted wall
Day 11 saw the flooring go down and the new toilet and sink finally installed and Day12 and 13 saw the finishing touches done, and the flooring fastened back down to make it safe but it is never going to look 'right' and finally we had a bathroom...sort of...
all that was needed was for me to try and find places for the necessary items as this new bathroom is tiled on three walls and no space for shelves so changes have to be made.
Day 14 saw the arrival in the pouring rain of the recycling man who came and cleared everything away from the front garden.
The team of fitters, Andy and his son Callum and an apprentice called Pete, could not be faulted. They turned up early and didn't take long lunch breaks. They didn't play loud music or spend time on their mobile phones. They put down dustsheets and at the end of each day swept and cleared up their mess. Callum even washed the front path one day after he had been mixing plaster.
This company comes highly recommended and the work also has a five year guarantee.
Husband says it is well worth the price and reasonable rates of repayment
(it will take him three years to pay it all off)
He loves it...
Then on Day 16 a man came to replace the front fences and install a new gate. This is the third time we have had Dave come and fix fences in this house and previous house so we know that his prices are reasonable and the workmanship good.
The finally yesterday the man came to give the central heating boiler its annual check up . Because of the installation of a new radiator the boiler and heating system had a longer than usual overhaul
And today.....NO WORKMEN
The cat and I survived and have asked my husband that he never,ever, makes me go through all that again....ever
Last night as husband was running a bath in his brand new bathroom, I discovered that there was no water coming out of the kitchen taps for me to do the washing up, just a few drips!!
There had been a problem with reduced water pressure in the kitchen taps during the installation which I had brought to the attention of the fitter. He said that the pressure was fine and bathroom installation would make no difference.
I have rund him this morning to report this phenomenon only to be told that it is nothing to do with him, and it "must be a fault in the water meter limiting the water flow"...which is absolute nonsense.
Am not at all impressed.