Thursday, 29 September 2011

An Autumn Treat on Dartmoor

  The Curate has been on a training day all day and was able to re energize with a spectacular motorbike  ride  back across the Moor. As the dogs had been in all day. we decided to take advantage of the warm evening sun and we went up to the moor for a picnic supper. The colours are suddenly changing on Dartmoor as the bracken is dying back. The evening light accentuated the changes.


A couple of weeks ago we had seen three buzzards in this spot.  This time there were five birds hopping around on the ground. They were fairly unconcerned by us being there - as long as we kept our distance

The Arrival of  Autumn

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Why all children should carry a handkerchief.

 If all children carried a handkerchief (and knew how to use it) I am sure I would not now have my first stinking, rotten cold! Week 3 back at work and I am suffering from the worst EVER cold - sore throat, stuffed up nose then streaming nose - (Got the picture yet...shall I go on?) After the long (sort of ) summer, I had forgotten how bad the common cold could be (this is no COMMON cold - this is man flu - well woman flu!)). I mean - where does all this runny stuff come from.....? Slightly indelicate I know but that is how I am feeling.

I thought I had done everything to protect myself from the first round of germs. I have had the early nights and long walks in fresh air, eaten jars of extremely expensive manuka honey, taken fish oils and flower oils, dosed on vitamin C and gorged on fruit.  I have improved my fitness and heart rate and blood pressure by taking regular exercise - and still the dreaded cold bugs get me. IT'S NOT FAIR!The children arrived back this term sniffing and snotting from day one. I suppose I notice it more as I work on a one to one basis with the little dears. I see the yucky fingers being wiped across the nose and then under the table. I get the full experience of an exploding sneeze that often comes without warning and sprays the whole of the working area. (The Curate informs me that the flying droplets are exiting the nostril at a velocity of aproximately120MPH.) What amazes me is that the children seem oblivious to the effect they are creating. Perhaps we should do a school project on this. (mmm .... coloured dyes...possibilities for measuring distance and speed - maths..or art work....!!)

The modern child seems to have little idea of what a tissue (let alone a handkerchief) is for. The new box of tissues in my room is now empty. The children may daintily dab their noses (when asked) but then they will drop the tissue beside them never to be touched again. Others recoil from having to bin a used tissue - even if it is their own. As for arriving with a handkerchief of their own - not a hope. In fact the notion of a cloth handkerchief seems historic to many children. Sleeves, fingers and back of hands are a far better substitute.

I think I should start a campaign - USE THE HANKIE! 

(Moaning over.......and I don't feel any the better for it!)

Whisky toddy next. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

At the end of the day.

Peace at the end of the day

Too much change - I am finding it harder than ever to get into the back to work routine and the early morning starts. After the freedom of the summer, the reality of being in a new parish is proving challenging. But at the end of the day, the Curate and I have been taking off to the hills (well - Tors to be exact) for some re oxygenating! We have been joined by The Collie and our fourteen year old Lakeland who amazes us with her agility over the rocks. We can be ourselves and remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be in the same place now.
Of course - someone always gets over excited and can't stop! 
The Collie seemed to enjoy knocking me flying!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sailing wasn't like this in our day.

The excitement of watching this high tech racing
The Curate manning the safety boat and towing home a boat- thirty years ago (no lifejackets!).  Many moons ago The Curate and I met in the muddy backwaters of the Blackwater river - (not in the water but on the water). We raced dinghies - sailing was a hobby in those days - especially on the East coast. We didn't have branded sailing gear -  we waded in the mud in old plimsolls and cut off jeans. How times have changed!

Wooden fireballs - some homemade -being prepared for racing (no yachting wellies here!).
This is what sailing was about - peace .

Monday, 12 September 2011

What is Prayer? - Personal Ponderings.

I'll admit it - I struggle with prayer. Yes - this Curate's wife just doesn't get it. It's not that I don't pray - it's just that often I struggle with  'corporate' prayer - although at other times, it is reassuring to join in with familiar words that come readily to mind because of years of sitting in Anglican church pews. I have read books about prayer and tried to understand how we are supposed to respond in prayer. But it is being able to be still and silent when I feel closer to God - on top of the mountain, in a magnificent empty cathedral with a vaulted ceilings, in the middle of a flowering meadow or on an empty beach. I need to be somewhere where I can still my mind and put down the day's events- and that is not usually in Church. I need space to be and to give thanks.

Why does open or shared prayer still make me feel so uncomfortable? I didn't experience this until I was in my twenties.  I have had years to get use to it but so often I feel I am listening to someone's shopping list of requests or relaying of community problems. Surely God knows what we need and He must be aware of the problems that may surround us? I don't want to open my heart for everyone else to chew over my problems.

Should we all be saying the same prayers - when we are all individuals? Are we suppose to babble away individually at God all the time? Think of the film Bruce Almighty  where Bruce is given God's powers for a week - and he hears all the people praying all the time.

Why do I feel so prickly being prayed for - yet other people find it so powerful? Why do 'Holy huddles' make me feel awkward and ...yes I'll admit it  - embarrassed.

How are we supposed to pray?

What is prayer?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Storm Coming In

It's an early service for The Curate today so I won the early dog walk - in the rain again. The behaviour of the moor animals made it clear that the weather coming in was not going to be just a bit of rain. They must have been able to sense the storm that the weather men have told us to expect. The ponies were sheltering in amongst the gorse - all with their backs to the building wind. And there too, was a very new foal - with all the signs of being only hours old. What was interesting was that the ponies were not going to move from their spot - even with my dogs and myself being so near by. It was as if they had chosen their spot to shelter from the storm and they were not going to give it up.
Even the sheep were so determined to reach shelter as the rain began to lash down, that they walked straight towards us. We were directly between them and the wall that would protect them from the elements. I have never experienced sheep behaving like this before  - they usually move on when I am walking with the dogs. The only time they stay where they are, is when I am horse riding amongst them. I know that I still have a lot to learn about Dartmoor and I look forward to doing so.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Sharing our Dartmoor walk

One last Dartmoor blog before I'm back to work. There is something about getting up high and being able to look down on the world. As a child, a platform in an old apple tree provided a retreat from the world - a private place. Living where we do, I can climb the Dartmoor Tors (we don't have mountains around here). I can choose the Tor to suit my mood. - Do I want a physical challenge that will blow away the cobwebs or a gentle meander uphill with space and time to reflect?
What's that on the horizon?
Sometimes someone gets there first- as happened this Sunday.
Haven't we met before?
The trig point ( or scratch post!) at the top.
To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon the verdant green
      hills is the most perfect refreshment.
                                                                                            - Jane Austin   

Sunday, 4 September 2011

So...that was summer!

Our third wild swim was in a beautiful spot on Dartmoor.
As my long summer holiday came to a close, we were blessed with two days of wonderful weather and it was almost possible to forget the many wet, windy and cold days that had gone before. The Curate and I made good use of these days and, instead of rushing back to the sea, we continued our quest for inland swimming. We wanted fast running water, with reasonably easy access. The river boulders can be very slippery and make the river bed very uneven to walk on - so you just have to get in quickly! We looked for safe pools that were just deep enough to swim in but not too deep.
This last spot was idyllic and we spent the last afternoon there with The Collie. The buzzards were flying high overhead, a heron flew in to land for a bit of fishing but on seeing us took flight again - lazily flapping its great outstretched wings above our heads. The grazing sheep watched curiously from a distance - as did a group of walkers who were following the footpath higher up the valley.
 We swam and picnicked until the wind began to get a slight chill in it. A perfect end to the summer holiday.
 The Curate and I have had these last two weeks together. We have worked on our house on the south coast and caught up on gardening jobs around our present house. It almost feels like home now that I have moved in all my things from the other house.
We both feel refreshed and ready to return to work to tackle new challenges - whatever they might be. This time together has given us a chance to reflect on where we are at the moment and consider what the future might hold.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Double Dipping

The start of September brought sunshine and warm winds so today was the day to try out the second swimming spot. Much to my surprise The Curate was keen to join me so we went for a double dip in the late afternoon (after any walkers might have gone home).
It's a bit of a walk.
Inspecting the site.
The Curate being given tips on doggy paddle by The Collie
A contented Curate's wife
 It was glorious - the water was clear and refreshing.  You should try it.