Sunday, December 13, 2009

St Arvans

This morning's Radio 4 Service came from St Arvans - just listening to the worship transported me back. The music was always good in that place. We lived there for about 10 years - they were very happy ones. The village was a friendly safe place, and we were sad to move on, and have often wondered what life would have been like had we remained there.

This parish church is where each of our sons were baptised - this morning was a delight, especially thankful for all those memories.

Advent is gently progressing, and am enjoying the preparations ...

As we will be away for a while, I'd like to leave you with the Advent Blessing, which I love:
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you,
scatter the darkness from before your path,
and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and the Blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you
and all those you love and pray for
this day and always.

Will be logging off now as will be offline until Epiphany.
In the meantime - Have a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas ...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sunrise ~ Sunset

Sunrise and Sunset were both awesome today.

This morning the clouds seemed to be radiating from the sun itself and certainly were heralding the day. Thankfully the old saying 'Red sky in the morning ... sailors (shepherds) warning' didn't come to anything. Those deep rich colours were back again this afternoon. Delightful.

It's been quite a busy day in a very busy week, with a number of different appointments and meetings. These combined with preparations for Christmas means time is truly flying by. Lots of lists to get through ... so there's very little time to put pen to paper, or get on to the blog.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Under Construction

There has been the first fall of snow out in Newport, which has melted, but there will be more soon. It's heads down in IYRS. The first years are working on their Beetlecats, here is Ivor and Matts boat they built last year.
The Chris Craft, one of the second year restoration projects, is coming along and you can follow the progress on the IYRS blog at

Newport is a long way from home, and although I found it very challenging to let my youngest son go to school so very far away, I was sure that IYRS would be crucial in his education. This has been borne out in his commitment and achievements in boatbuilding. He may have many GCSE's and three A levels, but he is finding his hidden talent - he has always wanted to build boats.

Each one of us have inate gifts - it's important to find out what they are. Our education system sometimes enables that discovery, and sometimes misses it by miles. If you are dyslexic, your talents will often be broad, but sometimes hidden. One teacher I encountered as our boys were growing up, was a specialist dyslexic tutor. His belief was that dyslexics are very bright, some are brilliant, they just think in a different way. He had a saying - Dyslexics Change the World. They have an inate ability to think outside the box.

When I was at school, my dyslexia was unnamed. I was regarded as average, and the word blindness made it terrifying for me. Eventually as I left I was told to marry well, and advised that my limited achievements meant I shouldn't go onto further education. Twenty years later, when computers were an essential tool in the dyslexics armoury, I was accepted at Theological College! I had married well, raised a family and then with so much behind me I had courage to step out.

Second Candle in Advent Ring

As we move through Advent each week, another candle is lit on the Advent wreath. I love this element of the season.

Although I've been a regular attendee in church for much of my life, I can remember the exact time and place when I understood the significance of each candle on the advent wreath. Not sure why it had passed me by, for the first 3 decades of my life, but it had. Lighting the light on that occasion was, I recall, accompanied by a full explanation and a prayer. It's sometimes easy to forget that we do many things that we understand in our churches, yet to an outsider may seem strange. If leading a service I will ask if anyone can remember what each candle on the wreath represents.

The first candle represents the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those great ancients of the Torah - the first five books in the Bible. The second represents the Prophets of the Old Testament, who prepared the way of the Lord. A prayer to accompany maybe:
God our Father,
You spoke to the prophets of old
of a Saviour who would bring peace.
You helped them to spread the joyful message
of his coming Kingdom.
Help us, as we prepare to the celebrate his birth,
to share with those around us
the good news of your power and love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
the light who is coming into the world.
In the weeks of Advent each of these characters join us in our preparations for the fulfilment of the Promise of the Kingdom.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Testimony in Time

Many of our hymns are filled with scripture and quietly give direction. While the singer lifts their voice in song, the words feed and nourish the heart. One of those sung this morning was an old favourite of mine, I love it especially for the lines: filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.Perhaps its my love of the sea and the nautical references resonate, these lines are from Habakkuk 2:14.
God is working his purpose out,
As year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where'er man's foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God;
Give ear to me, ye continents,
Ye isles, give ear to me,
That the earth may be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Yet there's more here than the sea. The Isles of the scriptures were the northern reaches of the known land, beyond European mainland - that is Britain. The islands, the continent ... creation is bearing testimony to the works of the God. The Lord of history.

This hymn was written by Arthur C. Ainger (b. Blackheath, England, 1841; d. Eton, England, 1919) for use by the boys at Eton College, where Ainger was a popular schoolmaster from 1864-1901. Sadly there is an unedifying element of envy being perpetuated in politics, one that is discriminatory of people who've been to Public School, especially Eton.

Perhaps the challenge this discrimination presents may be overcome by celebrating all that's good. The fourth verse has the words:
That the light of the glorious gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world:
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free, that the earth ...

Goodness can emanate from across the political spectrum. We may need courage to make a stand so the gospel of truth may shine.

Spectacular Sea Spray

It's a spectacular afternoon, the sun's shining and the tide is high. There's great delight amongst the seagulls who are gathered over and on the water. With each wave there is an almighty thud that reverberates thoughout the house, just ahead of the upward vertical thrust of water which is heavily laden with seaweed. The road is awash with water as the drains are now blocked. Cars passing are creating there own mini tidal waves ahead, and vigorous wakes follow. Out near the harbour where the water is shallow over the rocks there are three intrepid surfers having a whale of a time. I captured two of them earlier today:

I can hear many squeals of delight from young passers by below at the pavement level. From our first floor eyrie, we have a panoramic view of all the activity. A truly good to be alive afternoon here on the Prom in Castletown. Am taking the opportunity to celebrate creation and our Creator.

Sadly, I can't remember how to put my camera onto repeat, so am only getting the occasional photo rather than being able to take a group and pick the best. Note to self, ask Ivor how to do this!

Friday, December 4, 2009

This Made My Day

My Granny gave me a manicure set when I was sent away to Boarding School and I have treasured it ever since. It encouraged me to take care of my nails and hands. Some of you may know that my husband tells me, frequently, that he loves my hands and feet, and is convinced I should have been a hand and foot model. It's a bit late for that now!

I've been following a manicure set on ebay which included a pretty nail buffer (which was not part of the original set) and am happy to say that I was successful in the bidding. What was quite unexpected was the communication that ensued at time of payment. An easy email conversation arose as a result and I sent the sellers a link to this blog. They, confessing never having read a blog but enjoying their visit, agreed that if they couldn't trust a vicar, then who could you trust? The items went in the post before the payment was received.

We live in a time when trust has been frequently superseded by fear and suspicion, and, sadly, this state of affairs subtracts from our com-union one with another.

This truly unexpected episode has but a spring in my step. Many thanks!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love the Cool Colour

It's been a fine, sunny December day. Great day for a walk, although there was a chilly north wind. Wizzy loves lifting her nose to the wind, and her little ears were flapping in the wind today! It's a good direction for Coral Cottage as it's not howling straight into our living room through the large front windows, one of which doesn't keep out very much at all.

We were out this afternoon at the Mills getting one or two things, including a delicious Manx Christmas Pud. At Tynwald Mills, in St John's there is a Cafe ... The Cat That ... it's full of welcoming comfy chairs and I just love the decor. Tea is good too. Inspired by a couple of sites I've found I decided to take my camera and much to hubby's embarrassment took these photos.

If you like turquoise too have a look at these websites:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Superb Arthritic Support

Let me introduce you to Tigger. Here he is - Tigger is my trusty walking stick - with attitude. When it was plain I needed that kind of support, I wanted one that was not regular grey issue. So he came to live with me. Delighted to say that I've very recently had to speak to Tigger and tell him that, for the time being, he's retired, alleluia!

One of the well known sayings about inflammatory arthritis is that: it may not kill you but it can take your life. Sadly, this is true for some suffers. Amongst typical manifestations are exhaustion, fatigue, pain and inflammation. It's a condition that cannot always be seen by onlookers, or even carers, but it can be devastating, especially in a 'flare'. A flare may range from being utterly debilitating, with one or more joints inflamed, to finding it tough getting about, particularly first thing in the morning, to just feeling out of sorts. In a severe attack sometimes the sufferer just wants to withdraw from life.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, knowing about it can help. Knowing, too, where you can turn for support will also help. Here on the Island, we have a terrific arthritis team made up of Drs, Consultants, Special Arthritic Nurse Ellen, OT Mandy, Pharmacist, Physio, Podiatrist (Hope I've not missed anyone off). They offer a course about Arthritis, which is full of all kinds of information. It's one afternoon a week for six weeks. I have learned so much, and that knowledge is very empowering. Diagnosis for Psoriatic Arthritis happened about 6 years ago, and had this opportunity been available all that time ago, I may have been better equipped to cope. Big Big Thank You to the SAS Team.

Self Skippering

While we are again being battered by the weather, Gordon and other yachtmaster tutees are out in Intuition of Boss in the Solent, a Westerly Fulmar. This time they are without a professional skipper and are in full charge of the vessel. Each on board will take the role of skipper to put hours on their logs.

Without much wind, they set out under engine power and waited for the wind to increase.

For Christmas, I've bought Gordon The Shell Channel Pilot and a number of charts for the region. I've sent down the two Solent charts for his use, but will hang onto the Pilot as it'll cost quite a bit to send. I must confess that I don't know that part of the south coast well. Using the Pilot, we can follow the journey. Last night was spent up the Medina River at the Folly Inn. Here, three pints were accompanied by whitebait, scampi, mash and peas. They tottered back on board along the legendary long narrow gangplank!

With Gordon at the helm, they slipped at 7.30 this morning and continued into the Solent. Later picking up a buoy in Portsmouth to clear up breakfast and change skipper. Much of today is about practising pilotage, and there's still not much wind.
Picture from Westerly Owners Association site is of a Fulmar 32.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recapturing Advent

Advent is the season of Expectation, encapsulated, perhaps, in ingredients of our days here in the northern hemisphere. There is less daylight, protracted colder nights and the advancing of winter - so it's essential to prepare for any eventuality, especially on an Island.

The whistling of the wind today, couldn't muffle the incessant sound of canned street music, even to be heard inside the shops in Peel High Street. Rudolf, Frosty the Snowman, Santa and other characters were already grating on nerves. The chap in the second hand book shop told me he'd turned up his own music in the hopes of drowning out the 'musack'. Woman's Hour told their listeners that today was the first day of Advent. Apparently, over 25,000 people contacted the Beeb to put them right. It is 1st December, and the first window of an Advent calendar can be opened, but Advent Sunday was on 29th November.

Let's recapture Advent. The active part of Advent could be regarded as inactive! The very essence is about waiting - and a close walk with biblical people of waiting reminds me of its importance. Mary and Elizabeth were both awaiting the fulfilment of promises. In common with all expectant mothers, these women knew waiting must be accepted, even celebrated. This particular kind of waiting sometimes requires patient endurance, but promises much.

Even amidst the current culture of immediacy, there can be no shortcuts. We can't fast forward to Christmas. So consciously setting aside the bling of the run up to Christmas, I am actively reclaiming Advent and savouring its treasures - some of which are found in the long hours of darkness.

Weather update - We are once again being pounded by a storm, and sadly I have to tell you that the larger, very new window has failed, not quite as spectacularly as the last, but it is definitely not fit for purpose.