Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Look who we met on the High Moor.

What a surprise to find ourselves being watched by this family.

The moor marks the end of summer with a spectacular display of purple heather.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Home brewing

The Curate has a hobby - home brewing. This is not rhubarb or parsnip wine making, occasionally it is sloe gin producing but usually it is beer brewing - and usually a dark beer. This hobby always proves to be a good topic of conversation amongst men. To try to encourage me to take an interest, The Curate made a barrel of lighter Mexican style beer just after we moved in. It was supposed to be ready for the hot summer that was predicted. The process involves a large pressurised beer sphere that takes up rather a lot of space. When we had a utility room this was not too much of a problem but in this present house The Curate had to be resourceful in order to find a space.

For a few days I could smell brewing on the air but I presumed it was because a new sphere had been started. When I was putting the clean washing into the airing cupboard I noticed the smell was stronger and  I could hear a hissing sound coming from the beer sphere that had been smuggled onto the floor of the cupboard. The seal had failed and all the clean sheets and washing were being gently misted by a fine beer spray from the leaking tap on the sphere! They do say hops are good for improving sleep. All beer making has now been banned from the airing cupboard.
But now the repaired sphere has now found its way into the bathroom!

Beer Facials anyone?!!
 (The nutrients in hops are supposed to add strength and shine to hair)

Egg White Beer Mask

Mix together Beer Mask Ingredients-
  • 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Beer
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 teaspoon lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Apply mask mixture to face. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Pat dry.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Church of St Michael de Rupe

The church on Brent Tor can be seen in the distance in many of my photographs of Dartmoor. This church, perched on a rocky outcrop, is one of my favourite places on Dartmoor. We recently visited it when the weather was changing dramatically between sunshine and showers.It is still in regular use for services and is lit by gas light. While we were there this time, the bells were in the process of  being rehung. Despite all the works going on, it has a very peaceful atmosphere and its location demands that you stand and stare and take a little time out with God. It is the subject of much history and many stories which you can read about here.

It is certainly a place to visit if you venture to Dartmoor and the views are worth the climb. Make sure you choose a clear day.

I am sure there is a story to be written about this character who was accompanying the men who were hanging the bells and she was watching for any approaching visitors to the churchyard.

New Living Translation (©2007)
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Riding the emotional roller-coaster.

Sometimes the only way to avoid stress is to hide under a chair.

This week I have finally moved most of my personal belongings out of the south coast house. It had to be done otherwise I always had an escape from 'church life' and, maybe, believed that things could return to how they were - pre-curacy. I found it hard to pack up our bedroom and remove precious bits and pieces from around the house. This was the downward dip but like any roller-coaster ride, it was followed by a soaring upwards as I watched my son and his girlfriend begin the next phase of their lives - not quite in the same place yet.

Sometime ago I blogged about the difficulties of the university generation getting a foothold in the work place. I was glad to see Younger Son make a start with a job in the office of a charity close to my heart. His girlfriend (NQT) gained her first teaching position for September in a school close by to the south coast house. Much Deserved Success! So up we all soared for the upward ride - followed by the nose diving dip as Youngest son heard that his whole department was to be made redundant later in the year. A few days later, after a successful interview, he had found another job. This time he would be using his degree qualifications and experience - but he would be away from home Monday to Friday. So a bit of a bumpy ride while they got used to this unexpected turn of events.

I am constantly amazed by the toughness and energy of our young people (..and I don't mean those featured in the news in the recent riots). While Youngest Son has started his new job and weekly commute, NQT has flown out to Kenya with Shelterbox to help set up camps for the Somali refugees before she starts her new job. Life is never going to dull with these two around!

May our roller coaster ride keep going upward  - but it would be a very uninteresting ride if there wasn't a bump or two along the way. 

I recently found The Welly Print blog which has a lovely piece on sustaining happiness.This touched my heart and I am going to try to write my own list of 'moments, memories and activities' that keep me soaring with the eagles.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A wild garden

The wet summer and our absence has encouraged our south coast garden to run wild. There are swirls of butterflies on the buddlia and crowds of wasps gorging themselves on the Discovery apples. The air is scented with sweet flower scents and a rather warming cider aroma from all the apples.

This tree was grown from a conker picked up in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It will be far too big for the garden... what shall I do?
My favourite place - overgrown!

Not our garden but my regular walk in the woods for 20 years. This view of the village only appeared after  some of the trees were cut and more were replanted a few years back - it will disappear again as the trees grow.

Monday, 22 August 2011

What to do about the Rambling Rector?

We are having a break in our house near the South Coast and I am having a bit of a crisis of confidence. I would like to poison the Rambling Rector and, having been very tolerant for over ten years, I now feel that enough is enough. The problem is the spiky growth that extends each year and smothers other wallflowers and cutting back is vey painful and not effective enough. The white froth is impressive and stunning in May but does a 'once-a-year' extravaganza justify its existence?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Is this my second wild swimming spot?

This looks promising for my next dip - if only the weather would improve. 

We managed to complete this Dartmoor walk this time - previously we had turned back because the path had proved too rocky for our old Lakeland terrier. The weather was not kind on Friday and the path ahead was shrouded in cloud but we decided to press on.
The path was not clearly marked and we were glad of the guide book and the map. We met two walkers who had turned back because the path had become very rocky and difficult to pass. The river was running fast after all the rain and the continuous noise reminded us of the power of the water. We seemed to be walking very close to the river bank and the rocks were very slippery. This river is claimed to be the fastest flowing river in England and I could believe it as it rushed past just below where we walked.

 It was just after this point that I jokingly said I would take the lead to prevent Younger Sister from falling into the bogs. Seconds after uttering this, my leg disappeared into a crevasse (unseen because of the boggy terrain). For a moment - I wondered what had happened and it crossed my mind that I might be following my boot into middle earth. I couldn't feel the bottom and Younger Sister rescued the top of my boot before it was totally submerged with my leg in it and pulled it out. Between the fits of laughter as I lay prostrate on the boggy ground, we did realise how carefully we had to be. This crevasse was completely concealed by the boggy terrain.

It was now time to head up out of the gorge - but finding the path was difficult. We had to head up into the cloud and the ground was running with water so it was difficult to work out where the tracks were. The visibility was not wonderful and it reminded us how you must always be prepared when you go out - a compass is essential. We were glad we had set off in the morning so there was plenty of day light.

Fortunately for us, it was not cold - just damp - very damp!

 You can see how wet the ground is in this photo.

But when the weather lifted the views were spectacular.

So.....all I need now is a little warm weather and the river to be flowing steadily and I will be back to test the waters!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Settling in with 'Positivity' !

A lot of rain and a little sunshine can make all the difference.

It's twelve weeks into the second half of The Curate's curacy and we are both still learning so much about this new parish. It is very different from where we were before and it does rain a lot! I thought I had reached the point where I could settle in as The Curate's wife more easily, having struggled in our last parish to come to terms with our situation. I know I want to be beside The Curate - but in what role? I am trying to practise positivity which (according to Jane Fonda in The Mail on Sunday today) is 

"an attitude, a way to approach life; it is expressed through humour, gratitude, forgiveness, playfulness, creativeness and adaptability."

In many ways I wish The Curate had given up his old life sooner and gone to college for his training. In that way I would have met others in a similar situation to myself and I would have had some introduction to this way of life. There are things that I have trouble figuring out. Here are a few of them:-

* Do I have to have a 'ministry'? Even on a positive day - I don't feel called to youth work, coffee making, flower rotas, prayer ministry  - is this my lack of church experience? (I do see a need to support The Curate - both practically and as 'a sounding board'.)

* Do I have to belong to a house group? It can be awkward when conversations turn to church management - as so often can happen in small groups.

* Do I go to church on my own - and risk sitting in the pew on my own for a few weeks - or do I follow The Curate when he is going to the other churches in the mission community and so become known to the other congregations ( even if it is only as 'The curate's wife)?

* Do I volunteer for the coffee rota and then find that I am unable to go with The Curate to the other churches ( one of which has been very welcoming)?

* How do we manage a social life together when The Curate feels church initiated social situations are 'work' and I see him doing a lot of listening but not really relaxing?

* Not having young children is a distinct disadvantage. I know how much easier it was to get to know others in our old village just by standing at the school gate or meeting in the park. There are no casual meeting places here so where do I start? ( I'm doing the gym - but we are all so puffed - no one speaks!!)

This is a positive blog - and these are just thoughts and I will return to them in a few months to see how things have changed. Perhaps you may have experienced similar as you settle into new homes. Am I just too impatient?