Saturday, 25 March 2017
Normally I get a flock of six or more throughout the Winter months, a nd by Spring they have vanished.
Not so this year.
Everyone keeps saying what a very mild Winter we have had, and, to an extent I agree, but when we should have had ice an snow (Jan-Feb) we had very warm days with more sun than usual and plants, birds every type of wild-life started to make ready for a new season.
Since then we have had a number of setbacks, extremely cold and strong winds and lashing rain followed by sunny mild days and cold nights.
The 'Met Office' says the first day of Spring is 1st of March. We who have been around a while, and are in 'touch' with our historical roots know better.
The 1st day of Spring coincides with the Spring equinox (21st of March).
The 'Met Office' says tonight the clocks go forward one hour which is the beginning of British Summertime.
We know that Summer begins with the Summer Solstice (21st June) or thereabouts. Quickly followed by Midsummer's Day!!!!!
No wonder the birds are confused. So am I.
I have just tried to do some cutting back of dead wood on some easy to reach shrubs, lured outdoors by the brilliant sunshine, only to give up after 10 minutes of battling a freezing and very strong wind.
My daffodils are lying face down in the garden waiting for the wind to go elsewhere when hopefully they will lift their frozen little faces up to the sun.
If this is global warming what on earth will happen 10 years hence?
Will the weather have changed beyond recognition, will Summertime even exist, or for that matter
Posted by Ray Barnes at 2:26:00 pm
Thursday, 16 March 2017
A year older today, I am now 82!!!
This year I have felt all of those years but, bugs and viruses defeated (touch wood) am now starting to look outward rather than in.
Yesterday I received two lovely bouquets of flowers and my sitting room smells gorgeous.
Today, looking at the cards which have winged their way to me I felt a small but definite lift in spirits.
I had a long talk to middle brother on the phone yesterday and was reminded how much contact with loved ones counts when living alone.
In the 7 and a half years since John died I have come to value my three brothers in a way I never previously did.
Taking each other for granted is par for the course between siblings and it takes a sharp reminder such as the death of a spouse to make one realise that our personal landscapes complete with support team are not just a background to our lives.
My three brothers have of course some things in common but are also very individual and I value them all, each for their own slant on life.
Friends in church and in the Close all play their part in my single status life but the ties of blood are, inevitably, the closest.
One of my cards is from my oldest friend, ( since school days) and that too is a very special link.
Watching the dreadful series of news programmes on TV covering the East Africa famine is heart-rending and the stuff of nightmares, yet it is the everyday reality of these poor peoples' lives.
Helpless to do anything except pray and wait for the details of how to donate money to appear on our screenes, makes us all the more aware of the huge gulf between their lives and ours.
It seems the situation in Africa never improves despite years of aid from other countries and billions of pounds being poured into the bottomless pit of misery.
Clearly the root cause is not being tackled, but, what can we do at our level?
I fear this is one thing which time will not heal.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:49:00 am
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
We also had ( for me the unwelcome ) return of incense.
I love watching the ritual of the incense being swung but not quite so much when the sacristan swings it in the direction of the choir.
Enclosed as we are in the chancel the smoke stays with us for most of the service, whereas in the main body of the church it tends to drift up into the (very) high roof.
Trying to do justice to "Hide not thou thy face" with a throat and chest full of pungent incense is not easy.
By the time the black cross has been impressed on my forehead by the rector's heavy thumb and with lungs full of smoke my one desire is to get out into the cool damp air of the churchyard and breath clean air.
Since our organist was unable to play this evening our long-suffering choir-mistress had to play the piano to accompany our singing. This meant that we had no-one to conduct and of course the sopranos lost her beautiful voice to swell their ranks.
Ash Wednesday being a fairly stylised service it was not possible to mention the fact that today was also St David's day, but as the piano accompanied our exit after the service I suddenly recognised a Welsh folk tune in the medley being played. Our lovely Christine's nod to my patron saint.
Lent is well and truly started.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:08:00 pm