Sunday, 29 April 2012

Passing Milestones

The predicted heavy rain started this morning and The Collie and I ventured out onto the moor in the early morning. It was too blustery for The Lakeland, even if she was dressed in her wax jacket, her double layer coat soaks up the rain and it takes all day for her to dry. I was tasked with the dog walk as The Curate had his first experience of 'the big church' in the nearby town. This is a large church with a congregation of around 150 people. Its tradition leans towards formal but it is warm and welcoming and has a fantastic musical tradition. And it is quite a long way from The Curate's Methodist roots and church experience.
When The Curate started his journey, I was reluctant and unsure about seeing my husband in a cassock and I remember asking him never to wear a dress ( that was when he was training as a Methodist Local Preacher). Well I have been nudged along by a very gentle God as The Curate has been trained by the Church of England. Little by little I have found that my toes have stopped curling up and that I can relax and accept my husband in this new role. I have hardly noticed myself changing yet both of us started with very strong views about wearing vestments and felt  that vestments made a minister less accessible. I have written before about The Curate's view of  wearing a collar and he reluctantly bought his cassock and surplice at the beginning of his curacy and now wears them confidently. Milestone after milestone is passed and today he wore vestments. The thought of wearing these had been a huge hurdle for The Curate and he struggled with his decision. It was interesting to see how his gradual acceptance and realisation that it was not about how he felt but about serving the church - and this church expected to see their priest in vestments.

Just to add to the experience The Curate found out only this week that the Diocesan  Director of  Ordinands was delivering the sermon as it was Vocations Sunday. No pressure then! The Curate was not responsible for choosing the hymns and we were both stunned to find 'Living Lord' was one of the hymns. This has followed us through our life together, often appearing at times when a little reassurance is needed.  I am pleased to be able to report that The Curate did not trip over his alb (first time of wearing), did not send the communion wine flying with his flowing robes and covered up forgetting the collect prayer by moving it to later in the service (when he realised)......and my toes didn't curl once!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Following paths.

 I am back at work and suddenly life changes its rhythms back to the early start and commute through the traffic. I have not written for a while as I need to settle back to the old routines and my eyes are very sore at  the moment so I have been avoiding computer screens.
 The Curate and I are beginning to seek out the next path by exploring opportunities that have been presented to The Curate. He has been told by his present DDO, that he can explore but not apply for a specific job. (ie 'Look but don't touch!) This is until he has officially passed this year and seen The Bishop to confirm this.   
A slightly eerie image with my reflection in it!
When I look back, I realise that I have always been intrigued by  paths. The first screen print that we bought was by the Suffolk artist,  Michael Carlo who created images of various 'mystical path'. The Curate then gave me another winter path by the same artist. While Carlo's style has now changed, I love these early pictures of reminders of my home territory in East Anglia. We have just sent them to be reframed as the cob walls in our old cottage were beginning to damage the screen. We will be able to enjoy them again when  they have been all spruced up. The David Hockney exhibition was full of different images of paths - perhaps that's why I enjoyed it so much!
While enjoying starting new paths, I realise that I want to settle - I want to (I need to) reach our destination. It's Spring and I want to plant a garden, make a home and put down some roots.
Our own mystical path

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

More foals at King's Tor

The Curate is covering for others on holiday this week and trying to complete his portfolio for the end of his curacy.  We still managed to get out and enjoy the moor as the rain cleared and left bright, warm sunshine. We walked on Kings Tor today and when we stumbled on these two, we thought that yesterday's foals had moved up the moor. When we compared the photographs we saw they were slightly different (- maybe they share the same father!)
The pones are more exposed up here on the higher moor - and they seemed to enjoy the warm sun we had today.  These ponies do belong to farmers but they run free over the moor - keeping the moorland from becoming overgrown with gorse and bracken.

 And here are some more pictures of our local pair enjoying the sun this evening. They seem the best of friends at the moment. I will update their progress on a new page - see the sidebar panel.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Ponies and foals -a bit of a girlie post!

It is a day off for The Curate after a busy few days and it is too wet to go anywhere other than 'round the block' on our normal daily dog walk. This takes us across a corner of the moor.

 We often pass the moor ponies and recently we have seen a number of mares looking ready to foal. Yesterday we noticed  a couple of the new arrivals.  I thought I would post their photos - after all - it is Spring!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

He is Risen

Happy Easter
I'd like to think the sunrise service had a view like the above - but this is the moor. After a clear night we had a foggy damp walk up to the edge of the moor for an early communion and it looked more like this-

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A Variety of Walks, Variable Weather and Vicarious Work

The Lakeland at Beardown
What a Holy Week! The weather has changed from summer, shirtsleeves sunshine to sleet and snow, with autumnal fog in between. Today we are back to the damp conditions that are warm enough to encourage the Spring flowers to try again.

The Curate has been unexpectedly busy as people have been unwell. There have been services every evening so I have encouraged him to get out and walk in the afternoons. We have managed to  mark off a few more Tors on our map of Dartmoor, despite the weather. 

After such a splendid walk last Sunday, Monday's destination could have been a disappointment but this wasn't the case. Dartmoor is dramatic when the weather is unsettled, the clouds roll over the hills and threaten rain and drama. The showers can be seen in advance falling on the distant Tors so it makes us quicken our pace.
We decided on Beardown - not too far from a track where we could leave the car - in case we had to make a run for shelter. Once you are above the trees there is  little protection 

from the elements on this part of the moor. 
 It is part of the army firing ranges and so it is not always accessible to walkers.                We checked that there was no firing before setting off. Almost immediately we were met by a farmer on a quad bike who told us he was bringing the sheep off the moor so he asked us to step off the track while the sheep went by. The Collie was very impressed by the working dogs - who took no notice of our pampered pets! In  the past the farmers would have been on horseback. Last year we met a farmer who had farmed the moor all his life. He reckoned he had had his first pony at the age of three and ridden down into the town when he was old enough to start school, leaving his pony at the home of a convenient aunt. Quad bikes have replaced ponies now on the farms - and they looked a pretty exciting ride!
The Tardis looking hut on the edge of Beardown was evidence of the army's use of the moor as a training area. There are signs warning you not to touch any suspicious objects - try telling The Collie that!

We were pleased that The Lakeland managed to walk with us today. While she can be reluctant to do the early morning walk these days, she still enjoys Dartmoor and continues to amaze us with her agility and determination.

We watched the clouds begin to billow up and the rain begin to fall. You can literally see the showers coming towards you on this open moorland. It was time to head back to the car.

On Wednesday there was fog so The Curate and I checked the map for unvisited tors that were not too far from a road. The fog changes the atmosphere and character of the moor into a sinister and soulless place. If it isn't blanket fog, it swirls around you and one minute there are glimpses of a watery sun and the next - you cannot see fifteen foot in front of you.  


In these the conditions the huge granite boulders and the towering tors are intimidating. We were very unadventurous and only walked across to Black's Tor. The fog cleared for a bit and we were rewarded with a view of the Meavy valley which you cannot see from the road. We walked down to the river and promised ourselves that we would walk this valley on a clearer day.
Good Friday saw the return of clearer weather and The Curate and I were up early to take our coffee and Hot Cross buns out onto the moor before the church services. Combestone Tor is the most accessible tor for visitors and the parking area was empty when we arrived. It is a great place to take less mobile visitors as you are high up and can see into the far distance - and sit in the car!! As a result of this - it gets busy and this was the case when we came down from our walk to Holne Ridge.

Horns Cross

We passed Horns Cross which was thought to mark the monks' way to Buckfast Abbey (I think). Holne moor is scattered with the remains of ancient hut circles and cairns - evidence of the past inhabitants of the moor.
The Collie in the entrance to his hut circle

Higher up there is evidence of the tin workings that used to provide employment in the area. The open cast mines are now overgrown and look like old river valleys - until you realise how many there are.                        Time for our coffee and hot cross buns and time to enjoy the space and silence (except for the skylarks that would streak suddenly upwards from the moorland in front of you -  singing their loudest songs in the clear blue skies).
And time for one last game with the rubber ball The Collie managed to find on a seemingly empty moor!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Creativity - The Other Half of my birthday (01/04)

Have climbed to the roof top of Devon on Sunday morning, The Curate and I returned to an excellent Sunday lunch in a pub, with Youngest Son and his girlfriend (NQT). Inspired by our trip to the David Hockney exhibition, I had decided that the afternoon was to be spent being creative as NQT had given me four small canvasses and some acrylic paints as a Christmas present. Until now they had not been used. If you are ever stuck for a family present, - this is a brilliant idea. None of us claim to be artists but enjoyed the challenge of being creative. The concentration, the re working, despair, laughter and discussion made for an excellent afternoon's entertainment. 

We were also joined by my eldest son and his girlfriend in Australia - we put the web cam on, and they watched 'the therapy session' thanks to Skype! 
I would also recommend the paint app for an ipad that David Hockney used to create some of his work.
  It provided some light relief when inspiration failed!

None of the artists claim that their work is complete - so another afternoon has been planned. Watch this space!

Monday, 2 April 2012

A little Closer to Heaven in Devon

It was Palm Sunday yesterday and as a Curate's wife, I should have been in church. I could have been processing with a donkey or I should have been singing worship songs. But I was singing praises from the rooftop of Devon! It was my birthday and the most beautiful sunny morning. Dartmoor, with its vast open spaces and stillness, called. The Curate and I were up before the crowds and I proved (to myself) that I am still young enough to climb to the top of the highest Tor on Dartmoor (Yes Tor) which is 619 metres above sea level. It is not the highest point on Dartmoor, Higher Willhays is supposedly a metre higher ...but that doesn't rate as a Tor - just a high hill. So The Curate, The Collie and I climbed up and down before lunch and before the day walkers arrived.
We crossed the dam at Meldon reservoir, looking across it's inky blue surface to  Dartmoor. Walking across the dam you see a serene water scene on one side and a deep valley on the other. It makes you appreciate how deep the reservoir must be.  The air was clear and cool, perfect walking weather and  we were alone.  We had to be back in time to have lunch with younger son and girlfriend (NQT), so we set off with a good pace over Longstone Hill.

It was one of those walks where you had to stop and stare, if only to catch your breathe as you are climbing upwards for most of the way. As the early mists cleared, the views were breath taking. We thought that we might be able to see the North coast and our old home. It was truely awe inspiring!. The moor is empty here, there is little gorse and no trees. The Collie still managed to find a tennis ball which he insisted we threw for him all the way up and down Yes Tor. 

There is such a sense of peace on a day like this ... .  

What a great way to start a birthday!