I looked up at the birch outside our front door. She is all ready for spring with those tight-closed catkins in twos and threes at the end of her twigs. Meanwhile on our house wall, the Mermaid rose has forgiven me for cutting her back so hard. Lots of little red buds in the nodes behind the cuts. Now next door’s building work is over may she flourish again!
After a big Christmas meal among a crowd of adults, some of them unknown to him, 18 month-old Abel was getting restless so he went to the back door and found his wellington boots. It was time for some fresh air.
By the corner of the park he stopped. He pointed at the lilac tree and shook his finger – a gesture he uses if he hears a loud noise like a siren – or grandad sneezing. Grandad’s sinuses were not challenged on this occasion; the noise was coming from the tree: Robin playing his part in the dusk chorus.
Abel watched and listened till Robin changed his perch, then said, bye bye. Off he went into the park and straight up onto the old abandoned railway line. At the top he paused again, listening. Singing close by were a thrush and blackbird as well as another robin. After listening for a while, it was bye-bye to these birds too. We were unable to see them.
We did see the gulls flying below the clouds on their way to the coast: bye-bye to them too.
It was dark when we said bye-bye to Abel, but he pointed from his car-seat to our own robin, still singing, still patrolling his boundaries by street-light. Bye-bye Abel, thank you for listening with me!
This building was new to me: photo by Chris Dyczek at Agnellusmirror.
I’m not sure why this posting has taken three months to get published!
A fine day, a trusty Brompton, an appointment in Ealing, a detraining at St Pancras: why not ride a London bike along London’s canal? The towpath goes almost all the way and will surely be in better nick than when last I rode it in 1980.
Yes, and no. At the very start of the ride, behind King’s Cross station, it was good to see a terrace stepping down to the water from street level and people enjoying the sun between trains (judging by the luggage they had put down). I, however, was on a pontoon floating on the water, as the path itself was a building site.
A little further West there were more residential moorings than I remember, two or three abreast where the canal was wide enough. If I hadn’t met Mrs T when I did, I might well have gone for that way of living in London. But she and Kent beckoned; I see more big ships in the Channel these days than narrow boats on the cut. The zoo – I’d forgotten that the bird house is cantilevered almost over the water – it has lasted well for such a delicate looking structure.
After Regents Park there was a stretch where I lost the canal, then miles of railway on one side and cemeteries or buildings across the water. Even the industrial buildings were not as I remembered them, but I got to my destination ready for an afternoon’s research,having lungs full of as fresh air as Central London has to offer. Maybe next time I could try another part of the Thames path I followed to Richmond at the beginning of September.
Litter-picking is one of those fatigues that children in school resent. One thing to pick up your own litter, another when it comes to other people’s. I try not to be resentful when I do my turn – turning scraps of paper, drinks bottles and coffee cups instead of stones on the beach. But it’s more difficult when it comes to cigarette ends and packets. (GRRRR!)
I tell myself the parable about the son who didn’t want to do what his father asked, while the other just made promises – which one did his father’s will?
But a little reward came my way today. Shining in a ray of winter sun, a very early snowdrop.
And surely better to do the job with a degree of anger than not at all?
Thank you for your interest in the blog over the past year. WordPress informs me this is in fact the anniversary of my starting the blog, and it is also its last day in my hands, as I leave the post of Bishop Otter scholar as of this evening for pastures new.
A resource for churches in the Diocese of Sussex and beyond
There is a rich tradition of art in churches in Sussex – from the mediaeval frescos at St. John the Baptist, Clayton, to twentieth-century works commissioned by Dean Hussey at Chichester Cathedral, to contemporary commissions such as Maggi Hambling’s The Resurrection Spirit at St. Dunstan’s Mayfield (2013). Our art is a wonderful resource for helping us to understand and reflect upon matters of faith.
We can also draw on the rich history of religious art in museum and gallery collections in Sussex, and further afield – whether by visiting these collections, or viewing images online or in books.
These notes and questions are intended to encourage individuals and groups to engage in a contemplative way with works of art in churches and elsewhere. It suggests a series of questions to prompt…