Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Balance - perspective - joy - sorrow and survival

First thing this morning I saw the appeal on BBC TV by the DEC for the Nepal tragedy.

I phoned my donation through early so I could turn off the TV and think of something else.

All the way in to St. M's I found my mind turning to the dreadful pictures and stories that are unfolding in this latest and most dreadful of natural catastrophies.

This was my SPACE duty morning, always very busy, sometimes fun, more often challenging I was glad to be occupied and in a manner which had some merit.

Later someone told me they had had a pet cat put down yesterday, once more dropping the mood down to zero.

Returning home this afternoon my neighbour's son came round to let me know he has passed his driving test.  Full of high spirits he lifted the feel of the day back onto a happier level.

Watching the 6.00 pm news this evening more details were becoming known of the extent of the Nepal disaster  and knowing there was nothing I could do I once more turned the TV off.

At 8.oopm I settled to watch my long-time favourite Holby City.  A good storyline with some ups and some downs, my spirits rose to dizzying heights when the end of the programme saw the return of my hero - Heinrich Hanson.

My cup runneth over.

But.

What absolute nonsense.  How can a mere TV programme cancel out the misery of the events in the real world?

Well of course they can't, do not really do so, but what they do manage  is to restore the balance in a day filled with highs and lows.

When people use the very over worked expression "a roller-coaster ride", this is, I think, what they mean.

Without the redeeming factor of light-hearted trivia we would all sink into the depths of depression if we allowed bad news to take over our lives.

Finding the balance is tricky and is difficult to  sustain at times but is the key to survival. We are of  no use to other people if we are not able to retain our own stability.

Anyhow, to end this wandering reflection, may God bless and help and inspire us to try to help the poor victims in Nepal.

Oh, and God bless Heinrich Hanson. :-)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Let it Rain

This in case anyone has lost sight of the fact, is April.

So, where are the April showers?

Yes I do know that as soon as it starts to rain I along with half the population will be begging it to stop, but oh it is so dry.

Yesterday at 6.15 am out in the garden putting my morning bird-table and ground bird seed 'breakfast' out.  I nearly stepped on a dead starling.

How it was killed I don't know but it was very flat and was a very young bird, obviously too young to have learnt caution.

Taking a spade from the garage I started to dig a hole for the burial.  The ground was like concrete and all I could do was hack out a rough space lift the unfortunate little corpse into it and cover it with the solid block of rock-hard soil.

At lunch-time on my return from St. M's I filled a watering can with water adding some Jeyes fluid and soaked the area to seal it  from predators and to help disinfect the area.

Looking at my rapidly browning daffodils and Hellebores I realised that if it doesn't rain soon all the new growth will  be straw and of course the rampant weeds will resist all attempts to pull them up.

Once, back in the mists of antiquity I loved gardening.  Now the combination of dry Springs, hard clay soil and my own ancient body make it an almost impossible chore.

It wouldn't be so bad if the drought was accompanied by warm sunshine, but though there is some warmth in sheltered places, the evil strong East and Northerly winds cancel out the benefits while drying the earth out even more.

Every time we get a weather forecast which promises rain, the clouds gather overhead then thumb their noses at us as they sail by on their way elsewhere.

This Friday they are again promising rain.  I'm not holding my breath.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Meet and Greet

Every Wednesday it is my great pleasure to sit at the 'welcome' desk near the entrance to St Mary's.  A somewhat chilly post on many days since both the outer and sometimes the inner doors are wide open.

Nevertheless my 'meet and greet' partner and I thoroughly enjoy our weekly exchange of views, personal chat and deeper discussions, interspersed with visitors of all kinds.

Some scuttle in, heads averted so as not to catch our eyes and manage only the barest nod in return to our "Good Morning"s

Others drift up to the desk and linger and chat about their own churches, or sometimes their family stories, while some, just a few ask deeply interested questions about the age of the church and which are the bits to look out for etc.

Occasionally we get musicians who have heard that our accoustics are particularly fine and want details of concerts etc.
We have visitors from Australia, America Germany, Nederlands and many other countries, as well as coachloads now and then from all over the UK.

There are days when no-one crosses the doorstep and days when there are endless trickles of couples, groups and single callers.

All are grist to our mill, and the chance to have a really good chat about our various 'treasures' is really welcome.

Best of all is when someone on leaving says."thank you so much for making our visit so interesting"

A couple were on their way to the door last Wednesday when I remembered that they were particularly interested in old wood and I had neglected to show them our (four) misericords in the choir stalls.

I apologised for delaying them but said I hoped seeing these hidden carvings would make up for it.
They were so effusive in their thanks that I still had a smile on my face half an later.

Volunteering can be dull and sometimes seem a thankless exercise, but it can be such a source of joy too.

Oh dear, I sound like Pollyanna.  I'd better go and lie down. :-)

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Belated photos

The two pictures above
are two of the four I took to illustrate my balloon story.  Have managed somehow to retrieve them fromthe clutches of my evil blog gremlins, but couldn't help the other 'prisoners'.

They are still just about surviving but the six smaller ones are about grapefruit size and Mummy has now wrinkled, descended to ground level and is looking at the floor.

All this just so I could discover how long they could remain with some helium still in them. (19 days so far).

If this sounds slightly off the wall I must plead Easter exhaustion.  Three mammoth days gone, and one remaining.

Musically it has been a wonderful experience but physically draining.  Some 11 hours so far.

Tomorrow we will round off the service with the Hallelujah Chorus.  By which time none of us will have any voice left.

There have been some rather odd changes to the 'normal' way of doing Easter, courtesy of our American rector, but he is getting used to us and we to him.

Much as I love Easter, I am glad it comes only once a year.

Spiritually rather traumatic, musically uplifting and exhausting in equal measure and mentally taxing it is a mixed blessing.

Happy Easter everybody.