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  • Taking a Break...

    Annual leave begins tomorrow and I go away on Friday to spend a long weekend in Yorkshire before a week walking in/on Orkney.  There won't be any blogging in that time, but I will return with new tales to tell.

    Thought I'd leave a photo of me in my office for no better reason than it's quite a cheerful one - and I've just had my pre-holiday 'pruning' (and you all know how much I love hairdressers!)!!


  • Stewart Bowman Johnson, Artist, RIP

    Late on Saturday evening came the news that my Aunt's husband (so my uncle by marriage) had died.  Stewart was a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, gifted and talented, yet, like all of us, a fallible and flawed human, who never quite identified his niche or acheived his full potential, yet produced some really interesting work (I have previously shared his religious paintings on this blog).  This little pencil drawing belonged to my prandparents, was passed on to my Mum, and now is in my possession.  I can see hints of the MacKintosh influence (and Stewart certainly did a lot of stuff in that style) and even though the colours are dark and image quite sombre, I think it carries a sense of life and hope, being a flower (I think!)

    Hunting for poems and quotes to pass on to my aunt, as we work on the funeral service I will conduct for him, I happeend upon this one, which I quite like...


    When Earth's last picture is painted
    And the tubes are twisted and dried
    When the oldest colors have faded
    And the youngest critic has died
    We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
    Lie down for an aeon or two
    'Till the Master of all good workmen
    Shall put us to work anew

    And those that were good shall be happy
    They'll sit in a golden chair
    They'll splash at a ten league canvas
    With brushes of comet's hair
    They'll find real saints to draw from
    Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
    They'll work for an age at a sitting
    And never be tired at all.

    And only the Master shall praise us.
    And only the Master shall blame.
    And no one will work for the money.
    No one will work for the fame.
    But each for the joy of the working,
    And each, in his separate star,
    Will draw the thing as he sees it.
    For the God of things as they are!

    By Rudyard Kipling

  • Three (or Four) for the Price of One

    This morning instead of one full length sermon, we had three 'sermonettes' all on the same passage from John 4 and the encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman.

    Sermonette 1 was broadly expository under the heading, 'A Growing Realisation'

    Sermonette 2 was narrative, from the perpsective of the woman, 'He told me everything I did'

    Semonette 3 was thematic, thinking about preconceptions and overcoming boundaries, ' Strangers and Friends'

    An option was offered by someone else - to go off site, into the real world and reflect on the passage privately in that palce, making connections that arose naturally.

    Overall, I think it went OK.

  • The 'Right' Tune?

    This morning we sang one of my all time favourite hymns - We limit not the truth of God - to what, to me, is the "wrong" tune, even if for everyone else it iwas the "correct" tune!!  Both are good tunes, both have energy and drive, and either works well.

    A bit of checking... I first learned the hymn from Congregational Praise, which has as its set tune 'Ellacombe' (the "right" tune in my view).  Both Baptist Hymn Book and Baptist Praise and Worship have it set to 'Petersham' (the "right" tune for everyone else).  So there we go.

    I enjoyed singing the 'old' words complete with 'darkling forefathers' and 'Petersham' is a perfectly fine tune, to which I'd happily sing it again, even if my first loyalty will always be to 'Ellacombe'!!. 

    I am mildly amused at my own unconscious presuppositions about hymn tunes, and how that relates to 'sermonette' 3 this morning.  Ah well, they do say you should preach the sermon you need to hear yourself!!



























































































































































  • Culling Continues... even the cats are joining in!

    It's a funny thing, this shift in thinking/feeling away from acquiring to reducing.  I haven't read any Marie Kondo stuff, so this is not inpsired by her, more it's the impact of clearing my Mum's flat (in 2016) and her room at the care home (2018) and just how much 'stuff' there was.

    Looking back, as a girl who left home at 18 with a suitcase that contained 90% of what she owned, I have since then treasured and cared for everything I have acquired.  Reluctant to waste anything, I kept jars of screws, washers and nails (they went a couple of years ago), leftovers from craft projects (the last of which went this week), books I'd never read again (around 1000 given away in the last twleve months) and so on. 

    Beyond that were the things kept for sentimental reasons - many of which have survived assorted culls, and are now in my 'memory boxes' - a couple of medium sized storage boxes that will, if necessary, one day go with me to a care home!  Things that spark memories.  Things that have no inherent value, yet immense personal worth.  Badges, certificates, mugs, childhood toys, photos, souvenirs.

    But mostly, I'm, joyously becoming increasingly ready to let things go.  And the cats are joining in too!  This morning we culled a big bag of toys they don't play with, and in some cases haven't played with, to give to the charity that rescued them.  We still have plenty of toys.  And it does seem that even the furries are enjoying a less cluttered environment.

    I don't for one moment regret acquring all this stuff, it has over the years borught me joy and delight.  I suppose it is a little bit scary when I realise how many hundreds of pounds worth of stuff I am rehoming, but I have no regrets, about buying it, having it or giving away to bless others.

    Still a long way to go to be truly minimalist - but it feels like the right season of my life to slim down the 'stuff' and enjoy the space!