Saturday, 25 November 2006

Blow ye winds and crack your cheeks

The first gale of the winter (and indeed for the year) is threatening to blast the cobwebs away this night. It's 12.50 a.m. as I write, and the wind is picking up outside. Leaves are swirling, and there's a continual drumming from the garden as the rosy-red apples fall from the two old trees onto the lawn. (For lawn read moss!) The Met Office is predicting gust of up to 70 mph in the early hours, so we'll see what happens. We'll also discover if the new roof on the house is fixed and watertight. I don't fancy picking up broken tiles as well as apples in the morning. I hope the apple trees survive. One of them has a hollow trunk and main branch. I have no idea how it keeps producing such a crop as we've had this year, but it does. It's bound to snap off one of these days, but hopefully not yet. It's a lovely shape and there's a small stone buddha sitting at its base that gives the garden a peaceful ambience. If the main branch comes down, the eastern mystic will get a nasty crack on the head!

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Lo, he comes

The Coffee Morning made over £90 for our Benefice funds, and all but one jar of marmalade was sold. The Remembrance Sunday service was very well attended with more than 80 people, including the local Sea Cadets who brought their Standard. And now we turn our eyes towards Advent and the swift journey to Bethlehem.

However, our Bethlehem will have little in common with today's Bethlehem. No shepherds out on the hillsides watching over the flocks by night - they wouldn't be able to get through the Israeli concrete wall that divides the city. Plenty of room at the Inn though, since the tourists can't get there. Any bunch of angels that decide to hover over the fields singing "Glory to God in the highest" had better take care, or they'll be shot down by Israeli tanks. Not much "Peace on Earth" there this year .....

I've all but finished my Christmas shopping. Just two or three more items to find, and then I shall have to get down to the wrapping, especially the ones that are being posted. I never leave the buying until the last moment - in fact I start putting things away for the next Christmas in the January sales. Sad, isn't it.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Hubble bubble ...

Right, that's another batch of 3-fruit marmalade made in readiness for the monthly Coffee Morning on Saturday. I get moaned at if I don't have any for sale, and as I was down to the last 2 pots, I had to get cooking. It's done with ruby grapefruit this time as the nearest Tesco didn't have the yellow variety, and it makes a slight difference to not only the colour but to the set. However, all seems to have worked well, and althought the jars are still warm at the time of writing, I'm sure the preserve will be firm when they've cooled down.

And it's not just the jars that will cool down tonight. It's been a bit of a chilly day, and autumn has certainly established itself. Leaves are swirling in the gusts of strong wind that presage another hefty rain shower, although the apples on my two old trees are still grimly hanging on. If previous years are anything to go by, they'll still be there come Christmas. Trouble is, apple sauce doesn't really go with turkey.

All Souls Day, and the annual Remembrance of the Departed service should now be drawing to its conclusion in Flixton Church. This seems to be attracting greater numbers each year, so it will be interesting to get the feedback on tonight's liturgy. With the opportunity to light candles, and the names of all those whose funeral services we have conducted over the past 12 months, as well as additional names people want mentioned, those who attend feel that they have not only remembered but also participated. The simple symbolic action of lighting a small candle becomes quite profound for them. It's the old educational adage in action ... "I hear and I forget - I see and I remember - I do and I understand." It doesn't bode well for our sermonising, but we all know the power of visial aids, and if people have done something as well, more of the meaning of what was being celebrated is bound to be passed on.

Sunday is November 5th and the annual celebration of Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up the English Parliament. If I'm to hold to the above tenet, then perhaps I should let off some fireworks from the pulpit. I wonder if that needs a Faculty?