Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Spider web

Wetland wildlife, Bagnor Estate 31 July 2012
Bagnor Estate, 31 July 2012

Spider's web spotted during this morning's walk through the Bagnor Estate.  We skirted round the wetlands shown in the top photo; it's been raining on and off today and we were wet enough as it was. We'll maybe try another time once we've worked out the route and can do the full circuit round the estate from The Watermill back round to the Blackbird Inn. (Well-behaved dogs allowed!). We had a very nice bite to eat there as well. We're now safely back home in dry clothes whilst Greenpatch dog is taking forty well-earned winks.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Little Portion - new TSSF magazine

For anybody who's ever wondered  what  Franciscan Tertiary (TSSF)  page  at the top of this blog refers to, I've just linked to the first issue of our province's new, colourful  magazine, Little Portion. Why Little Portion, and what's it all about anyway?

 LITTLE PORTION gets its name from Porziuncola (“little portion of land”) that was the most sacred place for the early Franciscans. It was here that the young Francis understood his vocation and embarked on his own lifelong formation and that of forming the three orders that continue to exist today. This new TSSF publication offers a ‘little portion’ of wisdom from local groups, areas and the provincial networks as a means of nurturing our members in their own personal growth as well as nourishing them in their engagement with building community both within and beyond TSSF.
                          Little Portion, Issue 1, June 2012 

 With the theme for this first issue of Prophetic Voices in our Time, I think it's  good, general reading,  whether you're of a Franciscan persuasion or none.

(And no, I'm not on commission to the editorial team, in case you wondered!)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympics - "Isles of Wonder"

Well...that was...what can you say? I'm having a lazy Saturday morning recovering from watching the  Olympics Opening Ceremony. What a marathon! Wonderful.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Coming soon - How to be a Bad Christian

...and a better human being.  Dave Tomlinson tells about the inspiration behind his new book.

‘This book is written for the countless ordinary people who don’t know what to make of organised religion, have little time for creeds and doctrines or even churchgoing, yet who nevertheless attempt to live in the spirit of Christianity…’
             More here.

Another very good reason for going to Greenbelt Festival if you've not tried it already.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pop up tent folding: a new Olympic sport?

My faithful 'Des Res' for Greenbelt: 3 M, dbl-skinned,  with blt- in gsht, porch and air circulation system [front door] - aka the 'Amorphous Green Caterpillar'

 If Pop-up tent folding should be made an olympic sport; I'll not be rushing to sign up...

Spent last night - no, let's be honest - spent part of last night   out in the back garden doing a pre-GB try out of my tent.  Why do I need to do this?  I know  the wretched thing is still in one piece after its debut at GB 2011!  Come 2 am,  the insomnia prompted by the heat and  the rustling of God's tiny creatures in the shrubbery became too much and I snuck back into the house to seek refuge with Mr GP.

Quite why I've also chosen what must be the warmest day we've had for ages to check out all my other camping gear, goodness only knows, but never mind, it's all neatly folded and packed away. Apart from  my super-duper pop-up tent; here it is, 'airing.' Anyone who's read about my struggles with it last year * will know what I'm talking about and why I've nicknamed it the 'Amorphous Green Caterpillar!'   Is there a patron saint of tent folding do you know? It was never like this back in my Girl Guiding Days!

I’d no trouble ‘popping’ the tent up; but folding down…well, let’s just say that in the time it took to upend it, my cosy green caterpillar-like abode transformed into a huge, threatening amorphous mass, billowing round the back garden like a barrage balloon. It unleashed in me (and in Mr M) dark forces that no amount of watching instructional videos on Youtube could purge. And there are no shortage of them, believe me. To wrestle the sodding thing into submission requires arms the length of a gorilla, and the strength of one too.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Mr M - End of virtual Tour de France

Hurray! End of tour and victory for Bradley Wiggins, Chris Frome and Mark Cavendish. Mr GP explained how it's all worked out; I think I've grasped the basics; it was all terribly exciting, anyway. End of virtual tour, too for Mr GP and good news too, in that it's inspired him to get out and about again. Plans are in the pipeline for next year...

Now for the olympics!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Trinity 7: Mary Magdalene - longing for God

From  the beautiful Oh God, Hear My Cry in Janet Morley's anthology All Desires Known.

...Like the sudden rain upon the grass
and like the sunlight
my God is come to me;
as the footfall of a child who was lost,
as the rhythm of an unremembered song.

Your coming is like freedom to the prisoner,
like the return of those long captive.
You are the movements of the dance I had forgotten,
you are the face of satisfied desire.

My soul is stirred for you, my beloved.
I cannot contain my heart;
for you have seen my longing,
and your eyes are dark with love.
Your love is stronger than death,
your passion more relentless than the grave.
You will but speak the word,
amd I shall be healed;
though your touch is the touch of a stranger,
yet is your voice my home.
                 Song of Solomon 3:1-4, John 20: 1-2, 11-18

Saturday, 21 July 2012

School's Out! Musical memories

image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Heavens, it's strange how evocative music can be! A Letter From Home's post on school holidays and freedom set me to thinking of the old Alice Cooper classic,  and in a trice the years fell away.  I was in my early teens when School's Out first came out and can remember it as the background to a holiday in Scotland: Bracing sea breezes, parfum de gut factory (Mum's family came from a  Northerly fishing port),  running along to the local school with my cousins to check out the new class lists for the autumn term.  Later on it was the constant at 6th form discos and a must-have at college, especially for celebrating the  end of teaching practice.  (I didn't actually carry on into teaching, but that's another story).  Still -  substitute flared jeans, indian cotton smocks, dungarees, bubble perms and earrings (for the men) for the dresses and shorts and I'm transported back over 35 years.  I even fancy I feel the energy surge I had then...just for a moment, sans poor circulation, bad back, worrying lumps and bumps and an internal thermostat that has a mind of its own. 

Excuse me whilst I go away and blow my nose very hard indeed. 


Friday, 20 July 2012

Virtual Tour de France

Mr GP has still to blog the final stages of his 'virtual' Tour de France. It's as nothing compared to shadowing  the Real Thing, of course, which involved six weeks away and all kinds of alarms and excursions. Not quite the same animal as the traditional 'Grand Tour' of old, but just as exciting, I bet.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Doggy labyrinths

??? What the...?!*@%

Hmm... Maybe I'm taking this labyrinth lark too seriously:  Greenpatch dog earlier  puzzling over his new, super-duper Buster dog maze feeding bowl.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

That green-eyed monster

The late, great, 'Ridge!'
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on...
              - Iago from Shakespeare's Othello

Poor old 'Ridge!' Our son's late 'Beardie' is  the nearest thing I can find to a green-eyed monster at short notice. No matter; the idea was to point readers towards Quinn Creative's hints and tips on how to cope with Jealousy.

Pondering just now  on how it takes me - I was inclined to think that a more apt image  was  of a weed, which you may not spot at first, but which, once it takes hold, sends out roots and tendrils which slowly and silently strangle and stifle. In my experience, you're not always aware of its presence until it  pops up; the green-eyed monster ambushes you. OK, I can see a place for both images now.

Whether you term it the green-eyed monster, killer weeds, or the waste products of the 'internal parrot,' self  awareness and recognition are the beginnings of coming to terms with and sending off the pesky creatures.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Words fail me...

Ladybird Books - Florence Nightingale
Words fail me...as I'm sure they will millions of other people on hearing the appalling tale of neglect leading to the death of 22 year old Kane Gorney; we've just listened to an interview with his mother on this morning's Today Programme. Florence Nightingale it ain't. My mother (who trained post war and was beginning work at the founding of the NHS) would be turning in her grave. If this is what we've come to, I'd rather go back to the days of fierce matrons and a pettifogging obsession with waxed floors, bedwheels all facing the same way and hospital corners.

And I make no apology for sounding like indignant of Tunbridge Wells/a tabloid.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Checking my vital statistics - Ogres seeking enlightement

So, I'm checking my stats (as you do...)  when I spot a visitor who appears to have landed here in the course of a search for higher things. Should I be touched that  my humble ramblings are obviously helping other, less fortunate souls along the path to enlightenment?

 Not so, I'm afraid. I was brought down to earth with a bump when a search showed The Yoga Ogre to be Peter Bentley's tale for children about Ogden the Ogre's attempts to find his dream sport. I suspect my visitor may be A Discount Ticket to Everywhere. If it is, thanks for this. If you hop over to her blog you'll find a review of not only the Yoga Ogre but a number of other brilliant books; I've spotted a few of my own childrens' favourites there from way back. It's good to know that some of those golden oldies are still going strong, and great to hear about what else is out there. Now all I need to do is find an excuse to read some of them for myself. Must find a small child.

Friday, 13 July 2012

To Be A Pilgrim - He'll with a giant fight

Mr GP calls the ferryman, Loch Lomond, Durham-Iona Pilgrimage May 2011

In the tradition of pilgrimage, hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost--challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge and make space for true self to emerge. If that happens, the pilgrim has a better chance to find the sacred center he or she seeks. Disabused of our illusions by much travel and travail, we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now--in every moment of the journey, everywhere in the world around us, and deep within our own hearts.
 - Parker Palmer from Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away

Song of Solomon 2:10-12 RSV

 My beloved speaks and says to me:
 "Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land."

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Definition of icon Oxford dictionaries online
  • 1(also ikon)
    a devotional painting of Christ or another holy figure, typically executed on wood and used ceremonially in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.
  • 2a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration:this iron-jawed icon of American manhood

  • 3 Computing a symbol or graphic representation on a screen of a program, option, or window.
  • 4 Linguistics a sign which has a characteristic in common with the thing it signifies, for example the word snarl pronounced in a snarling way.
Nothing from me this morning but a link to check out: an account of the blessing and installation of Apocalypse Icon's recent pieces of work. A most wonderful blessing, as she says.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The long and winding road - Yes, it's that labyrinth...again

labyrinth at Ripon College, Cuddesdon
Can't get away from that long and winding road; this time at Ripon College, Cuddesdon during today's Festival of Prayer run by BRF and the Diocese of Oxford. Goodness, their gardener must have his or her work cut out! (pardon the pun). It must take a Ride On mower to keep that lot in trim...

<--- Or not... Maybe the pixies set it out under cover of darkness.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Creativity and art journaling - work in progress

Creative burst - July 2012

Is it a bunch of squashed forget-me-nots? A fistful of stones? Bubbles? No, it's only me having one of my periodic creative bursts using some paper napkins, the leaflet from this week's fruit n'veg box, my favourite water-soluable wax crayons and gallons of paint and glitter gel. 

The original idea was to build on some stuff on Psalm 139 I began on retreat, but somehow I began to word associate and this is the result.  I've another blank  page with the  same border ready and waiting; who knows what'll come of that? As I said in the post title - work in progress...

Virtual Tour de France

Cycling adventures  from Mr GP, who's hit on a novel way of exercising and shadowing the Tour de France.

For your info, he did actually shadow the race for real some five or so years ago; details over on his blog.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

What has come into being in him was life 2 - recycled Greenpatch

 Not to confuse Mike F ;),   the post below is a  'recycled Greenpatch,' following on from my  earlier one on John 1. First blogged in December of last year on my old blog.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
  There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
  The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 - John 1:1-14

 Mike F of The Mercy Blog got there before me in reflecting on today's gospel. 
As I've written elsewhere this morning saw me shatteringly tired in church yet as so often in the past, this timeless prologue to John's gospel  shone out for me in the mists of lethargy and confusion.  Not so much  Did the Earth move for You? Shipoffools style, this time,  just the tinest of tremors, but none the less powerful for that.
It speaks of their timelessness and power that these verses are amongst the few I know almost by heart and have been for as long as I can remember.  Familiarity never breeds contempt.    Every time I hear them, another part of the brilliant, sparkling, paradoxically complex yet simple message of grace and hope that Christ brings falls into place for me.  
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it... 

What has come into being in him was life

4 May 2011 - Balmaha to Rowardennan, Durham-Iona pilgrimage

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14 NRSV

Monday, 2 July 2012


It's that time of year again. I spent yet another  Sunday away; this time at Winchester Cathedral for a friend's ordination. It was a wonderful experience for everybody;  of all the ordinations I've attended, yesterday's was the first  where I've known one of the ordinands personally and been privileged to share just a small part of their journey over the whole long process leading to this moment.

Daydreamer's reflections on the price paid not only by the clergy themselves but also by their families in order to follow their calling largely echoes mine. It was wonderful to be there yesterday  and to witness the joy and excitement of the ordinands as they set out on the next stage of their pilgrimage. Such an emotional occasion; we were seated only a few rows from the front with a grandstand view and, as the service wore on,  to see the expression on their faces change from tense to (in some cases) tearful to smiling and joyous was wonderful to behold.

If the supporting, more seasoned clergy seated behind them felt the same way, I guess they weren't gving much away upfront; those that I could see looked suitable serious As Befits The Solemnity of The Occasion.  This is the C of E, after all! Maybe the emotions were  bubbling away inside, but my fleeting thought (and prayer ) at the contrast between the two groups was 'Please God, don't let those starting out today become ground down, jaded and cynical by the (inevitable) demands and expectations of the job. May they somewhere always retain the spontaneity and joy of that first calling.'

Technical tangles again

Time is a gift as I've said, but apologies to my little band of followers who must be under the mistaken impression that either  my blogging output has trebled overnight or that I employ an ammenusis! Not so -  I spent most of Sunday some 20 miles away at a friend's ordination; my only output was spiritual!  For some weird reason my googlereader and reading list has insisted on re-publishing a whole bunch of past  posts.  Especial apologies to Archdruid Eileen  - hope I've not caused confusion amongst the tealights - I seem to be lurking back down at the three week mark.

Given the ghastly technical tangles last time round, I think I'll refrain from any tinkering in the innards and adopt a 'wait and see' policy.