THE REV AND A DOG
The Rev and a Dog
What's the use of a blog if you don't take advantage of it to advertise events that are happening, especially in Saint Nicholas'?
This coming Friday, 25th October, there's a concert in the church!
The Sound of Solace Choir will have its first ever public concert ... and they're going to be joined by Mourne Male Voice Choir and three solo artists. So, for £8 (or concession rate) you'll have a wonderful evening of easy listening good music!
The pews are very comfortable ... the acoustics are excellent and I could (almost) off you a money-back guarantee that you'll have a great time!
If you'd pass on this information to other folk as well ... then there's a chance that we'll end up with standing room only! Wouldn't that be wonderful?!
And, by the way, it begins at eight o'clock!
Some weeks just are "busy"!
Finding time to blog isn't always the easiest ... and yesterday, day off, wasn't the time to do it either! It was a chance to relax by the seaside, to eat al fresco and sit by a warm fire in the evening ...
The light was magnificent as the sun moved to the south west ...
Such a blue sky in October!
It was mild enough, and warm in the sunshine, to sit outside for lunch. As always, Eliot attracted a lot of attention as folk passed Seasalt. At that stage he was still dry and fluffy.
Shortly afterwards his preferred seat was in a rock pool!
The remainder of the afternoon was spent with gardening ... pulling weeds, cutting grass and planting bulbs! So it was good to come in, get a fire lit and read for a while ... actually ... it may have been more like dozing than reading!
As for the week that is missing ... Mothers' Union ... Bangor Abbey on Sunday ... Open Church on Saturday ... as well as the normal stuff of visiting, preparation and other bits and pieces!
Prayer for MU around the world is part of the work of each branch ... here we were thinking about Africa ... Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan in particular. Every day MU members pray for one another ... at noon if possible.
The Bangor wildflower planting scheme has been a great success and now, even at the end of the season, the beds are looking bright and colourful.
So too was the Abbey ... full of flowers and harvest produce ... a beautiful place and good to be back as the preacher.
Of course ... Bangor is by the sea ... and no visit would be complete without a little walk to enjoy the sound and smell ... this was at Ballyholme.
Finally ... the fish had to be given their bath! Every few weeks they are subjected to a complete clean ... major work but it does mean they look good for the next little while. This is either the three of them posing for a group photograph, a protest swim ... or a plea for food!
Now ... back to work ... and maybe a picture or two later ... even if the day is dull and grey. There's still lots of beauty and much for which to be thankful!
A new hashtag for a re-issued book.
This was, and is, a significant contribution to the Christian response to the Northern Irish conflict ... first produced in 1988 by ECONI (Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland). That seems a long time ago now ... and today the book was relaunched at the Skainos Centre with some of the original participants present!
The cover is rather more muted than the very stark design of the 1980s, but the content is unchanged.
There are ten chapters, each dealing with a significant topic: love, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, citizenship, truth, servanthood, justice & righteousness, hope and repentance.
These will form the subjects of ten Bible Studies at Saint Nicholas' over the next few months. Copies of the book cost just £1. These sessions will be in the church on Saturday mornings at 11.30 am and will last for just an hour. They're open to everyone and we hope that they'll attract a wide audience.
The launch was held at the wonderful new Skainos Square on the Newtownards Road.
This centre is adjacent to the vertical garden ... a most interesting feature in the area.
A huge patch of fresh greenery along a city street ... so restful on the eye and good for the environment. I wonder what it is like to live and work behind this screen ... ?
So, with blue sky today and cooler temperatures ... Belfast is looking good!
... and already it feels like the weekend!
Some weeks are like this ... and other times the days appear to be endless ... and what is there to show for all the activity ...
Well ... a neat log pile in the wood shed!
That happened one lunch time when I was waiting for food to cook ... the logs were delivered in plastic bags but rather damp ... so now they can dry out in the air and be ready for all those lovely winter fires.
The smell of cut wood is delicious!
There's some turf is to be delivered next week (apparently there's a shortage this year)t. And burning turf is another smell that's hard to beat.
Dinner shots are in a similar category ... the taste, look and smell of good fresh food ... what a delight!
Meanwhile, I've been studying this interesting book ... very readable and thought provoking.
No doubt there'll be a quotation or two from it that will find their way onto this blog in the days to come.
Eliot, the ever-patient hound, simply sits and waits ... a lesson in slowing down if ever there was one! He's such a gentle big dog ... happily dozing at my feet until such times as the "walk" word is uttered ... and then he's at the door, tail wagging and full of enthusiasm. The darker evenings (and darker mornings) don't lend themselves so easily to venturing out ... still ... who can resist his persistent gaze?
All you need is an extra
That's a word I'd forgotten about until a friend put it on Facebook this morning! An Irish word ... pronounce it 'gan-zee' and, in our family at least, it will bring back childhood memories. geansai was certainly used for that thick jumper which keeps you toasty warm in the cooler evenings.
So ... putting on a geansai I'll venture out with the mutt to walk off some of his energy and to help me sleep ... not that I need fresh air to do that! All I require is someplace to lay my head ... the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime is a wonderful gift ... sleeping through alarms perhaps isn't ... though I've not done that in a while!
Another weekend has passed ...harvest services first in Saint Nicholas' in the morning (yesterday) and then a united harvest service in the evening held in Windsor Presbyterian Church with Saint Nicholas' Choir leading the worship and members of both churches and Belfast South Methodist celebrating together.
The Choir took their places well before the service was due to begin and the anthem and Psalm 65 were quite simply 'heavenly'.
It was a service of Holy Communion and people came forwards to receive the bread and wine from two of the elders and the two clergy.
Harvest offerings this year have included gathering goods for Storehouse ... a charity which supplies essential foodstuff, clothing and furniture to those within our city who do not have enough to live on. This has touched the hearts of many, especially since we heard a speaker from Storehouse tell the story last Sunday evening.
The first Sunday in October is also time for the Parish Magazine to be issued ... a bumper edition this time as many folk contributed articles of interest.
There's a copy on the Parish Website if you want to see it for yourself.
Meanwhile ... there's beauty all around ... from the roses at the church entrance to the mushrooms growing wild in the grounds ... and the detail of the rings in a piece of wood ...
What a wonderful world!
For eighteen months or so I've had one of those bamboo-thingys that start life in a little dish of foam and water! It's been repotted into some soil and is thriving.
A couple of weeks ago I managed to break off a small shoot when removing some dead leaves and, instead of popping it into the compost bin, decided to put it in water to see what happened!
This is what has taken place!
Little roots have appeared and the plant is beginning to grow. (Incidentally these curtains looked cleaner in reality than they do in the picture ... with apologies to my sister ... I will have them laundered asap!)
Let's not get distracted by the background.
The tiny cutting is showing signs of growth and I must admit to being delighted! Such small things give pleasure!
Normally the two are kept side by side among all the other objects that vie for space on the windowsill ...
I'd not been particularly aware of the word (or used it) before it landed in the sentence above ... yet it must be part of my mental vocabulary.
The dictionary says it means, "to strive for victory or superiority ..." and its origin is Latin 'invitare'
from which we get "invite". Interesting connections ... in Old French the word was "envier"
with the sense of "contend".
Meanwhile ... autumn has arrived ... dull and damp with mist hanging low over the hills ... even Eliot has lost his enthusiasm for staying out in the garden any longer than is necessary.
He shakes the worst of the wet from his coat before returning to the comfort of his armchair!
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ... " indeed!
Does your chewing gum lose its flavour ...
There's a trip down memory lane! Although it was first released in 1924 the song became famous in 1959 with Lonnie Donegan and actually reached Number 3 in the charts!
What brought that to my mind this evening ... it was the most unlikely connection ... Eliot was noisily chewing on an ancient bone! It's been lying around for months, spends some time in the flowerbed and then is brought back indoors with great enthusiasm, like an old friend! I'm guessing that it doesn't lose its flavour.
Meanwhile today's big new is that the car I'm driving, now thirteen years old, has just passed its MOT. The very friendly mechanic suggested that I simply went to the waiting room and he'd bring the car back in fifteen minutes ... he did just that ... and presented me with a new certificate for another year's driving! Just as well really as I'd spent quite a bit to have it prepared for the test! The garage will be pleased ... they like the vehicles that they process to get through first time round.
All the doors are open? Why? At the minute it's been cleaned and sprayed with all kinds of anti-dog-smelly stuff ... too many chemicals in the atmosphere ... but hopefully that will subside before any longer journeys. Otherwise I'll be driving along in this weather with the windows open ... and freezing!
A Quiet Day ...
Yesterday was an opportunity for members of Mothers' Union in Connor Diocese to draw aside for a while to listen to God ...
We met in Saint Nicholas' at ten o'clock and enjoyed some fresh scones and a cup of tea or coffee in preparation for a 10.30 am start.
For many people the days are spent busy and doing things ... so it is both a challenge and a privilege to be able to take a few hours out to listen to God.
The afternoon part of the day began with a short act of worship before we returned to silent reflection on some familiar Bible passages.
A good day for most people ... though some find it hard to use the silence constructively ... maybe that's something that needs practice?
... is a dog called 'Eliot'!
Here he is, right at my feet, even though there's nothing to be gained by being there.
It is possible, and maybe probable, that he knows there's going to be a short walk to the garage ... the car has been serviced and awaits its MOT ... so I need to collect it this morning.
While he waits, whether at my feet or in 'his' chair, he maintains that image of complete relaxation and contentment.
Somehow you can't imagine him suffering from stress or overwork. He's ready at a moment's notice to go and do ... but in between ... he achieves in a moment that restful state that is an inspiration!
It is enough simply "to be" ... he's loved because he's 'Eliot' and not because he does anything to earn it. I guess that there's a sermon in there!!!
Meanwhile, back to porridge for me ... literally as today's breakfast and metaphorically in the sense of getting on with work!
It's hard to beat White's Organic Jumbo Oats!
Yesterday I was given the third of the set of Coke bottles!
So, the set is complete ... though the next hunt is for our parents! The power of advertising!
The "Elizabeth" one was given to me by my Churchwarden as we gathered for WOW.
Last night it was a time of digging in to the scriptures to harvest some well loved books, chapters and verses ... followed up with some light refreshments ... crackers, pitta bread or rolls with salad type fillings.
This was followed by plums and greengages ... all very healthy and representing harvest ... as we'd been reflecting on the "Harvest of Scripture".
We can't do without it ... but when it happens there's a more than 50:50 chance that we'll complain about it! More so, perhaps, when it is a Day Off and walking the dog results in two very bedraggled specimens!
Neither of us cared! The car had to go in for its MOT preparation and the walk back was pleasant. We met a couple of parishioners on their way to school ... both boys were thoroughly soaked but didn't appear to mind as they sauntered along with schoolbags on their backs.
The boundary marker post was a good place to get a picture ... this one is almost buried in the pavement while the matching one on the other side of the road stands up clearly. They date from an early twentieth century reordering of the city boundaries.
Eliot enjoyed a quick towel dry before curling up in a haze of wet-dog smell ... I've chosen the other room ... though there's maybe a wet-human aroma here!
So - it is raining! Well - there's enough to keep me busy all day so I needn't worry about getting out. It's a good excuse to make custard too.
Meanwhile ... after a bit of hunting around on iCloud ... I found some photographs that I'd taken on Monday ... phonetic spelling (I think) ... but it did look bad on the front window display!
It is the "clamintine" that carries the local accent best of all.
Sometimes you wonder if anyone looks at The Rev and a Dog ...
Statistics for the last week demonstrate that there is some traffic on the site ... wouldn't it be interesting to know exactly what draws people to it? How do folk find it? Are the readers people who just happen to come across it and maybe never return, or do some folk look for the blog regularly? I have one blog that I search out most days ... For the Fainthearted ... but otherwise I don't go looking for any one in particular.
This set of figures is for the week that has just gone:
Why on earth do people in China, the Ukraine or India look at The Rev and a Dog?
I can, perhaps, understand why some friends might check up on me ... that explains a dozen or so hits from Australia, USA, UK and Ireland ... but as for the rest ... imagination will have to do that work!
And, if you've read this far, thank you! Do leave a comment ... though I think I've put on some hurdles for people to jump! The reason for that was some rather "unusual" advertising that began to land on the site and I wasn't too happy to be part of those campaigns, so the comments now go through "moderation" ...
... the world is full of them ... and they brighten up the day!
Take, for example, a walk along Grafton Street in Dublin. Crowds of people, many of them rushing madly for some imagined deadline, others sauntering along without an apparent care in the world ... and then you stumble upon these two!
They don't speak, but a couple of Euro in the dog's can will bring a response! With eyes and tiny gestures a conversation does happen. At first I'd thought the one in the top hat was a real statue ... the makeup and almost perfectly frozen pose had me fooled!
It can't be a financial reward that encourages folk to do this sort of thing ... there must be an element of fun and enjoyment ... the surprise they see on someone's face as it slowly dawns that these are not real statues.
If you've just been taking pictures of Molly Malone then you almost expect them to be bronze ...
It's hard enough to get a picture of this iconic statue without tourists ... and I just had to accept that the background was going to be cluttered. That's Dublin life ... a city with energy and buzz. The fact that the sun was hot and the day bright made it even more enjoyable.
Presumably Molly was a character too!
The modern version is perhaps a little more modest ...
With all this excitement ... and dozens more pictures ... it was time to relax in the beautiful surroundings of Bewley's ... it has changed a great deal and perhaps no longer offers the superb service that one might have expected 'once upon a time' ... but it is still an attractive area to sit for a while. If I hadn't wanted to rest then the waiting might have been frustrating ... actually ... it was a rather long time before the Danish Pastry and a bottle of sparkling water arrived! Maybe they had to go to Tipperary for the water?
Just outside Bewley's there were a couple of accordion players ... they too were willing to chat and, cigarette held well out of sight, this guy wanted me to take his photograph ... do I need a second invitation?!
My reason for being in the city was work ... committee work ... but it is good to have time to wander around and enjoy the atmosphere, especially on a day when there wasn't a cloud in the sky!
I guess it is one of the ways that adults 'play' ... just enjoying the surroundings, basking in the sunshine and going 'as the spirit takes you.' Every day should have these moments of unstructured play during which we learn to see more clearly.
Sunday night ...
It's been a while ... but that is often the story so, no apologies, just ... I'm back tonight ... and who knows when I'll drop in again.
Some people can write every day ... I used to be one of those. But then, life happened and the space left just evaporated ...
The Coco-Cola advertising campaign has intrigued me! It would be interesting to see if sales have increased ... I have bought more of it than ever before. Personalised bottles ... already I've found both of my sisters ...
Apparently there is an "Elizabeth" available but it hasn't come my way yet!
Such trivial things ... but fun.
Also fun has been the last week in Durham ... the few remaining days of holiday for 2013 ... and what a beautiful city in which to spend them.
It really is a beautiful place.
... and the Cathedral continues to be a favourite venue.
Before Durham ... European Heritage Open Day at Saint Nicholas' ... busy and fun ...
And finally ... Eliot travels around with me ... here he poses in the mist at Spelga ... a contented dog when he gets out and about.
It seems like "yesterday" ... but they all say that!
A young couple get married ... have children ... and grandchildren ... and suddenly thirty years have passed!
A pearl anniversary.
They spent the anniversary evening with the Sound of Solace choir!
We couldn't let the night pass without a small celebration ... a cake to cut and good wishes to share with Brian and Evelyn.
The Parish Halls are used for all kinds of events ... last month a wedding ... last night an anniversary celebration ... tonight some circuit training ... and on Saturday coming a coffee morning and Antiques and Collectables Fair .... Never a dull moment!
We have such good premises and it is great to see them well used by such a variety of events and organisations.
Meanwhile ... Eliot continues to enjoy his guest ... and the dog hairs have multiplied!
It is amazing just how well the pair of them get along ... a bit of rough play, a lot of sleeping and always alert and ready for crumbs that fall from the table!
Something unique ...
It's a cheese ... made in just one place in Ireland. The farm is in West Cork, near Schull ... and the cheese is heavenly!
There's nothing quite like it anywhere else that I know. Gubbeen is now always on my shopping list and fortunately a local shop (within walking distance of the Rectory) keeps a good supply. To find out more about it you could visit their website.http://www.gubbeen.com/
Schools are all back now so travelling at certain times of the day is slower ... and I have a couple of runs to do this evening ... so that means allowing extra time for the journey! Meanwhile ... I need to tick off a few more items on today's "to do" list ... trying to put something on the blog ... tick!
It may not be very interesting ... but it is the third consecutive day in this new drive to become efficient!
Angel continues to keep Eliot company ... but she likes to check that I really am leaving the house before she settles down.
Eliot hasn't tried this trick yet ... but he's a quick learner so I expect to see his nose appear through the curtains one of these days too.
'Tis sweet to hear the watch dog's honest bark
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;
'tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark
Our coming and look brighter when we come.
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
An informal alternate last two lines:
"And may ye be in heaven a half-hourThe drinking of a toast seems to have ancient origins and is an expression of honour or good will. At Castlewellan Show this year I got a bottle of a most acceptable liqueur ... a prizewinning drink made with 100% natural ingredients.So ... "Good health" or "Cheers" or "Sláinte".
Afore the devil knows ye're dead!"
What's the excuse this time?
Most recently a wedding at Saint Nicholas ...
The delightful couple (from Italy) enjoyed the warmth of Saint Nicholas' and the welcome of the Parish Halls as they celebrated their marriage on 22nd August.
May God's blessing surround Cristiano and Elizabeth as they set up home together.
There are some more photographs of this wonderful day on the Parish Website ...https://saintnicholasparishchurchbelfast.shutterfly.com/pictures
Before the wedding ...
... the odd walk on the beach at Newcastle ...
... a WOW (Worship on Wednesday) barbecue in the rain ...
... time to smell the roses at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park ...
... being around Saint Nicholas' ... the church is open most lunchtimes and on Saturday morning (for tea/coffee) as well as the regular Sunday programme. You'll find me in Saint Nicholas' on Mondays and Saturdays ...
Sometimes you're driving along and your memory is jogged ... hot summer days tying stooks ... arms and legs scratched, tea (with milk and sugar already added) brought to the field in cans ... a slower, simpler lifestyle ... but hard work!
The Parish Magazine comes out six times in the year ... so the August-September edition was produced with Eliot's contribution on the back page. There are spare copies around the church if you want to see it ... or you can read it on the Parish Website ... https://saintnicholasparishchurchbelfast.shutterfly.com/themessenger
Life as a rector is certainly full of variety ... it even included a session at the BBC to record some "Thought for the Day" items ... they were aired over the last few Thursdays.
Meanwhile there are sermons to prepare, hospitals to visit, people to see ... studying to do ... there aren't enough hours in the day!
It is good to look up and enjoy the beauty of God's creation, to rejoice in the care that God has for humankind and to pause to give thanks.
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
Christ our God, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.
Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835-1917)
Twelfth and Thirteenth
The day begins with watching Glenloughan Flute Band begin their journey to Annalong ... a chance to meet a few friends.
Then on to Narrow Water Castle ... recently undergoing restoration and now it is possible to go up to the second floor. Even Eliot climbed the fairly steep stairs and posed for photographs! Coming down was "interesting" ... but he arrived safely at the bottom.
Carlingford was next on the holiday trek ... a beautiful town, bathed in sunshine, filled with holiday-makers and welcoming to visitors ... well, all but one place was welcoming. One rather 'posh' establishment didn't serve dessert and coffee outside! And with Eliot in tow, I wasn't about to be allowed inside. A rather snooty waiter suggested the ice-cream van! Huh! That particular establishment won't be high on my 'must-go-back-to' list! It was the condescending attitude that irritated ... the "Bridgestone Best in Ireland" award could be challenged!
On the other hand ... lunch in a recently opened Beer Garden was a delight! Not a blade of grass or a plant to be seen ... but that will change ... just very comfortable chairs and beer barrels ... and a super metal sculpture of a cockerel.
The staff were a model of helpfulness and Eliot was treated to a water bowl and a great deal of attention.
The warm chicken salad was h-u-g-e and very, very tasty.
So a pleasant afternoon pottering around, taking pictures and generally enjoying Carlingford.
That was the Twelfth!
The Thirteenth, today, has been very different.
An early start was on the cards so that I could be at the Castlewellan Agricultural Show in good time ... being another pleasant summer's day meant that the crowds would gather ... and they did!
The whole experience was fun ... looking at the sheep, watching the hens, examining the goats, enjoying the judging of cattle ... exploring some of the new tastes and produce of the island ... energy gave out long before the entire show was explored! Another fun day to add to the summer holiday 2013 album!
Isn't this rare breed amazing! What a wonderful coat! God must have had a laugh when this idea came to the divine mind!
The rape seed oil is fantastic! I nearly didn't taste it ... now ... I'm the proud owner of FIVE bottles! One simply called "liquid gold" and the other four in different flavours ... each delicious.
Beach yesterday ... woods today ...
Well ... holidays are well and truly underway ... the Leestone beach always calls ...
Seagulls take flight as Eliot arrives ...
... though in this heat all that he wants to do is lie in the water! Or paddle around.
You can't blame him ... who in his or her right mind would wear a thick fur coat in the mid twenties celsius?
Today ... the cool woods of Mourne Park ... delightful lunch with friends and then all of us ... three dogs included ... headed off for a long walk.
The wild orchids were magnificent ... and I was introduced to Wood Rush (or is that "woodrush" or "wood-rush"?) ...
Under the trees the air is cool and both dogs and humans had a wonderful time.
Along the river the light was just perfect ... I could have stayed and taken photographs there all day!
How quiet and peaceful away from the noise of traffic or people ... just the occasional plane overhead. Glorious sunshine ... this is summer ... this is resting!
And there's always the distant panorama of the Mournes to feast one's eyes upon ...
And in the meantime ... a jigsaw. This I found in the shed ... but sadly it is incomplete! Five pieces missing ... maybe I need to write a mystery story of "The Secret of the Missing Jigsaw Pieces" ... would this be a bestseller? After all, this particular puzzle dates from 1966 ... England World Cup Winners. I do wish all the bits had been in the box!
So that's what holidays are about at present ... with a little bit of garage sorting, room decorating and a lot of sleeping!
Let's see where tomorrow takes us ... dog and camera ... will travel!
Eliot has achieved this state with perfection.
He's on holiday and can sit for hours on the cool quarry tiles simply enjoying the buzzing of the bumble bees and the occasional car that is driven into the cul-de-sac. He's not bothered by anything and will snooze here happily during the morning.
From time to time he changes position and keeps watch at the gate ... this usually indicates that a cat has dared to make an appearance!
Meanwhile the owner sits writing a blog or looking at the gate and thinks, "that needs a fresh coat of paint."
Perhaps holidays are for this very reason ... much lying around and sleeping and a bit of maintenance when the mood takes you! Right now ... the beach is calling! Another gloriously sunny day ... the stuff of "proper" holidays.
Did I hear someone say "beach"? Okay ... let's go!
Holidays begin ...
... and what a beginning!
A wonderful lunch with my sister, her husband and my niece ... a "proper" Sunday dinner! It was a glorious sunny afternoon too.
There we were ... enjoying the shade of an umbrella and looking around the garden ... magnificent colours and textures everywhere ... from the Baked Bean Vase with garden flowers
to the sundial, naked lady and stone rabbits! So much to photograph!
This was the perfect way to feel that holidays had begun ...
As for the meal ... roast beef and Yorkshire pudding ... what could be more traditional?
The beef came with its pedigree from a butcher in Killinchy (I think) and was melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous.
Then the vegetables ... the dishes kept coming and coming ... roast potatoes, peas, carrots, roast parsnips, cauliflower cheese, Dauphinoise potatoes, cabbage ... have I forgotten anything? It's the sort of stuff you'll get in heaven!
I did forget about the gravy ... so rich and tasty ... the topping to a superb meal!
Well ... how do you follow that?
Strawberries and cream, of course!
I'm afraid we chickened out of the cheese and biscuits ... that would have been just too much, too much!
Summer has arrived ... holidays have started ... and the sun is shining!
Eliot, of course, takes it all in his stride ... curling up in MY chair when he has the opportunity ...
wandering around our own garden as he checks out the fresh overnight smells ...
and no doubt he'll enjoy a good dose of beach and mountain over the next few weeks.
Evening light is beautiful but, as darkness creeps in, it is increasingly difficult to make out colours. All you see are silhouettes.
Switch on a tiny flash bulb and suddenly everything is clear again ... the red hot poker glows against the fading sunset. There's probably a sermon in that somewhere ... but I'll leave that work to the reader.
Meanwhile ... please note the hedge ... if all goes according to plan ... you'll not see that tomorrow evening! Some tiny clipper teeth should have restored order and dignity to what has suddenly become an eyesore!
You can tell that Eliot agrees!
He would choose to stand in the uncut grassy area ... a few feet nearer to me and you'd have seen a freshly mown part of the garden ... ah well ... buttercups are such pretty weeds!
A conversation ...
The young neighbour, searching around for another topic of conversation asked, "Do you grow strawberries?"
"No ... but I like them very much," I replied.
"I could plant some for you," he offered. By now his his slightly older sister came along and she happily joined in, saying,
"My Granny has some".
So we chatted on about this and that while I attempted a bit of grass cutting and some sorting out in the flower beds.
They wandered off and, needing a bit of a sit down, I took up the Mourne Observer and started to catch up on the local news.
Then, in no time at all, they were back!
"We got you a strawberry" they shouted as they peered through the window!
So, perhaps a little grumpily, I trundled back outside to be presented with a beautiful (if not perfectly ripe) strawberry from Granny's garden!
Giving me clear instructions to "run it under the tap before you eat it" they disappeared again, leaving me feeling just a tad guilty for thinking that they were a bit of a nuisance.
It was a very kind gesture and appreciated very much ... I just hope Granny didn't mind ... !
Sleeping dogs ...
Chaucer wrote: 'It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake.'
But Eliot doesn't appear to mind too much ... and after the photo session returns obediently to his own place.
He knows that the sofa is not for him ... but it never stops him trying to get comfortable there. Perhaps it has become something of a game ... how long will I be able to stay here today before someone notices?!
Today is one of those dull and damp days when curling up on the sofa is just what you need ... though there's work to be done and the relaxing will have to wait.