Will it snow?

Rather sadly, I am currently sat in the study intently staring at the nearest outdoor light (when not typing this that is), watching for snowflakes falling. We have snow forecast you see. And if there is a single weather type that I love more than any other, it is snow. Here is a little robin who was staring straight at me last year when it snowed, just asking for his picture to be taken. 
Have just got off the phone after talking to mum, she was busy gloating about the fact that is snowing up where she lives in Birmingham, rubbing it in because she knew it wasn't here. Grrr.  However, tomorrow she is off to Ipswich to stop with her brother for Christmas, and whilst here in Herefordshire we have a fairly good chance of seeing some snow at some point on Christmas day, over in Suffolk, the forecast is for a very wet and mild Christmas day. 
Met up with mum in Hereford on Wednesday to have lunch and exchange gifts before she went off. Was a quite cool day, but thankfully stayed dry. Had a good look round the shops, but didn't get much. Did get a couple of extra things for mum. 
Currently I am rather cold. There is no heating in the study, and am togged up in various jumpers and things,have two carol services to go to tomorrow, so that will be fun, especially if it finally manages to snow.
Not entirely sure why I chose to blog right now, but the excitement is too much I had to write about the fact that snow is on the way.  I'm worse than a child when it comes to it really, that's what MLO says anyway. 
Will probably blog again tomorrow after church. TTFN for now. 

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Confirmation date known. :-)

Great news. :-)

Mr vicar, finally, was told when the Bishop would be able to come and do the confirmations: January the 10th. Not long now! As he (the vicar) had planned for a confirmation class on the 10th, he had to change it, and I think we are all meeting on the 3rd, with a bit of a practice run through one evening that week. Not long now. :-)

Yesterday, we had a whistle stop tour of the bible, and how everything all fitted together, how certain stories in the old testament are mirrored in ways in the new testament. To begin with he had us all on the floor drawing out our family trees, starting with us, and going back. We then talked our way through our family trees, explaining things as we went. Then he spoke about the bible and how the books within it are grouped, and what the significance of that is. He explained it in a way that definitely made sense.  He went on to tell us about the family trees of Israel, mainly from Abraham to the exile.  It seemed much more enjoyable as we seemed a bit more involved in things, rather than just sitting round talking.After going through the new testament, it was time to go. 

Earlier on yesterday it was morning church, and the nativity play. Which was absolutely lovely and gorgeous. Children everywhere. And pretty much a full house too. The church looked lovely aswell, there were stars all over the walls sparkling and, streamers across the church hanging down and shining, plus an enormous Christmas tree in the corner. I hadn't really felt all that festive, but with the play, the decorations and the great happy mood, I definitely feel festive now. 

Yesterday evening was country church. There was quite a few more people there than the previous week, but the new people from last week weren't there.  We sang one of my favourites too,  In the bleak midwinter, to end the service. 

Yesterday, we also put up our Christmas tree and decorated it. Now it most definitely feels like it is almost Christmas. The town church and country church both have their carol services next Sunday, which I am really looking forward to, and Midnight mass which I am also really looking forward to. Not sure who will be doing the service though, as Mr vicar will be doing the town church, and we will be going to the country church, so we will see. 

Oh well thats it for now I think, I have work tomorrow, then meeting up with Mum on Wednesday, so may post again this week. 

TTFN for now. 

Just a short one

Bonjour mes amis.

This is probably only going to be a short one today, as I don't have much to say.  

What has happened since last time then?  Well, as I said I was going to go to either Worcester of Birmingham to meet my mum, in the end I decided Worcester was far more appealing than Birmingham, so we met up there (mum was more than happy to do so aswell). We went for a bit of a wander, then decided it was time for lunch. Had that then had some more of a wander. Managed to get MLOs present, and his mums too, so  was quite happy about that. Then it was time to go home (where did the day go?). The nice thing about going to Worcester was that I was home fairly early.

Next day as I had the day off from work, MLO and I went to the morning church, which was most enjoyable. Then confirmation class. This week it was all about what we thought Church was, and what we thought the communion was all about.  What exactly do I think about it?  At the class,  I tried to put into words how I felt, and what I thought (if they are two separate things that is). I'm pretty sure though that I ended up sounding like I was reading something out of a text book , as I wasn't very impassioned on the subject and altogether unconvincing.  Must try harder!! I feel such a tit when I do that, I have a million and one things in my head, want to say them all, and end up coming out with what I think someone wants to hear. Poo to it. I think I'll just keep my mouth shut as much as possible from now on.  Not sure what tomorrow will be about, will have to wait and see. It is the last until the new year. In the evening it was country church, which was a little empty, but, there were three new people, which was great, mum dad and their little girl.  Between them they increased the congregation by quite a significant percentage. 

Yesterday (Friday) I had an organic veg box delivered for the first time. (The local scheme were doing a first order half price offer, so decided to try them). It had arrived when I was at work, and as I had forgotten about it, it was a lovely surprise when I got home that evening. Had a great few minutes rooting round in the box to see what had been delivered. All sorts of lovely goodies, and most of them still coated in a covering of lovely Herefordshire earth. There were carrots, leeks, celeriac, russian kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions, potatoes Jerusalem artichokes, and loads more. Only problem, I'm not sure how to pay them. Have asked twice via e-mail, but no reply as of yet. MLOs mum asked when they delivered, but she was told not to worry about it. Wish I could get on and pay for them.

Today I had another Saturday off, having swapped weekends with the other girl at work, who wanted the last weekend before Christmas off. So spent a couple of hours in Hereford in an attempt to get my mum something nice for Christmas. No luck, except for some chocolate gingers. Lame effort. Got home early, made dinner, then came to blog. So now I am completely up to date, literally up to the minute. Church in the morning, and it is going to be the children's nativity play which will be lovely I am sure.

Well thats me all done. Will be back soon no doubt.

Wet and wild Wales, confirmation class, and stuff

Hello, only me.

Back at last. so what have I got to say for myself then?  Well, last time I blogged I had booked a few days up in North Wales for a bit of a getaway, and hadn't yet gone, so I will start with that. 

We arrived there on the Wednesday afternoon (18th November), just as it had become dark, and also just as the weather was getting going. It was the same time as they had the dreadful weather up in Cumbria, and although it was nowhere near as bad in the mountains of Wales it was still quite wild. Over the next few hours the wind and rain all got a bit insane, as the cottage backed onto a patch of woodland the noise from the trees in the wind and the rain, made it sound like a massive jet was flying inches above us, constantly for almost 48 hours. On the Thursday we had to venture out, as we realised we had left some vegetables behind at home, and didn't fancy dinner without them. We set out in over 60mph winds and the heaviest rain imaginable (however we were in the car) to drive into Beddgelert to the shop. As we were pulling down the farm track, three people and a dog appeared, heading along the one path up Snowdon, which literally went past our front door. Not only was the fact amazing, given the current weather conditions, but they were also seriously under dressed, the lady was dressed in desert boots and a cheap pac-a-mac, the man was in shorts and the son looked exceedingly unhappy to be out in it, as did the poor dog, who had been put in a bright yellow visibility vest. I felt like running up to them and saying "Are you insane, haven't you noticed the weather?" But as we passed them by we greeting them, and they seemed entirely happy in their little expedition, so thought it best not to mention, and let them go on their way.  Not something I would have wanted to do though, but each to their own.

On arriving at Beddgelert, after passing through some minor floods on the road, we pulled up in the car-park ad realised we were the only ones there, did everyone know something that we didn't? Slightly worried at that we made our way to the shop in the rain. The place was completely deserted, we couldn't believe our eyes really. One we had rootled round the shop for what we needed, we went to pay, and the lady behind the till said "You've got the place to yourselves today, but thats not surprising given the floods, even the Caernarfon road is now closed because of the floods" At this point we got a little worried, as that was the very road we had just come in on, and thought about the rather large flood that had started forming along the road at the end of the track. Needless to say, we hurried back, but it must have been further along the road than us.

Safely ensconced we sat down and listened to the weather, and tried to get a fire going, but the wind was going across the chimney so fast, it made life very difficult.

The next day (Friday) the weather finally calmed down and turned into a rather lovely day, so we went for a drive into Caernarfon for a late lunch and a wander. Was very quiet there too.  

When we arrived back at the cottage, I got the keys to open up the cottage, and got out of the car, open the front door, and heard MLO say "Oh no you haven't". I turned around wondering what I had done, and looked at his face, then at the car.  As he had got out from the car, he shut the door behind him, as you do, and the keys were still in the ignition. Next thing, for whatever reason it was, the car chose to lock itself, with the keys still sat there in the ignition. Why the central locking went off, we had no idea. Nor did we have much of an idea how we were supposed to get into the car, as the master key was still at home 140 miles away. Not the best start to an evening. Just at that moment the farmer walked across, and we explained to him what had happened to us, he told us to wait there and called his brother over to us, who had just arrived on holiday in his new motorhome  (new to him anyway), it turned out he had AA membership, and was covered if he was a passenger, so off he went and told them he had been in our car when it happened, an hour later and a very obliging AA man turned up and broke into our car in a most professional manner indeed. Shockingly easy with nothing more than a wedge, a blow up bag and a length of wire. After all the excitement once he had gone, we retired for a nice cup of tea.

Next the, Saturday was time to leave, and go home, we left just before 11. The weather wasn't too bad again, so I suggested we went for a walk round a lake, somewhere I had been years bore with school, and wanted to show MLO how lovely it was. One thing I hadn't taken into account though was the amount of rain we had had, something like 20 inches while we had been there. The lovely path around the lake was now several feet underwater with no other way possible, so we decided to have a late breakfast in a local cafe instead. Caffi Gwynant at Nant Gwynant, who I must say do a lovely breakfast. We chose to go there as we were told by the farmers  who owned the cottage that it was run by a man who used to be head chef at the Portmeirion Hotel. 

After that we called in at Betws Y coed, as no visit to Snowdonia would be complete without it. We wandered around, and as we were the rain was getting heavier and heavier, thank goodness for good waterproofs is all I can say. MLO saw there was a bit of an antique fair on at the church, so he went in , and I went and sat in the dry of the church for a while and had a few quiet minutes. 

After that we made our way to the Alpine cafe for a lovely cup of tea. (If you are ever in Betws, visit here just to see the amazing menu of various teas you can have, it would take months to drink your way through it). Finally we made our way home, and stopped for dinner at a pub in Shropshire somewhere. ( It was The Pound at Leebotwood) Where a lovely meal, ended a lovely holiday.

Back home, and the next day (Sunday) was church in the morning, which was fun, the In the afternoon, was the first confirmation class. I arrived with a couple of minutes to spare, unsure of what awaited in the room. There were three others already there, raring to go. M who is ten and a little shy, J who is 13 and incredibly intelligent for his age,  A,  who like me is quite the far side of 20, the vicar and myself. But, horror of horrors  the chairs had been arranged in a circle , and I am never really comfortable with that. After a few introductions, we all spoke about why we had decided that we wanted to be confirmed, what we thought of God and all about ourselves. M didn't speak for the whole class, she was too shy. Poor thing. Once that was finished, off home, quick drink and on to evening church.  

The week at work was quiet, nothing new there, so nothing to say either.

The following Sunday, I was working in the morning, so missed morning church. I got home from worked, showered, and got ready, then confirmation class at 4.  It was all about prayer this week. He asked us to speak about our life, and what part prayer had t o play in it. When it came to me, I joked that I had prayed to find a parking space in town, before.  Mr Vicar then asked if it had worked, and I had to admit that it had. Only thing was, I realised that it had probably sounded like I didn't really take it all that seriously when in fact I do. I just didn't want to say in front of everyone how much I pray, and how I pray, after they had all said that they didn't pray much, and appear as though I was showing off, or trying to go one better.  So kept schtum on that. We then watched a video, about silence, not surprisingly , there wasn't an awful lot said, but messages appeared on the screen, every so often to get the message across. Afterwards, we spoke about the video, and silence, how important it is to us to have silence. The fact that we tend to use sound, music, TV, talking etc, as a means to avoid really thinking about ourselves, and finding out about ourselves, to run away from ourselves I suppose. And that we really need the silence to be able to start listening, listening to God.

I suppose I am lucky in a way, in that I don't mind silence, and am quite content to be silent for hours on end, whether praying, thinking, working or just lazing. But that is in part due to how I grew up I think, where TV wasn't always on, and I was perfectly happy to go upstairs and read, or think, without music playing. So I guess I'm just used to it. I also think that it is why I tend to think so much. I am always thinking about something, there is always some random thought popping into my head, and I really do mean random at times. Some people would probably just call it an overactive imagination, but it has come in very useful, and has helped me to be more able to see myself for who I really am. I try to imagine myself from other peoples point of view, and then try to work out what they think of me. Which can be a bit of a pain when you realise someone who is talking to you really isn't interested in talking to you at all. I can never work that one out, if you aren't interested, why bother, or at least attempt to find some common ground to talk about. But, never mind.

The vicar sent us off with a little practical, to sit quietly and to basically meditate on God - although he didn't put it like that, I think that was the gist of it. I tried to imagine, I had not really prayed before, and did what he had suggested, for the first few times I kept getting distracted, whether by noises outside, or thoughts in my head. Then some of the most bizarre thoughts came to mind.  

I tried again. Several times in the past when I had been praying, there was an odd sensation almost like I could no longer feel my arms and legs, (either that or they had gone to sleep from the way I was knelt) almost if I was falling out of myself, if that makes any sense, which looking at it, it doesn't, and I began to feel a bit like that again, then nothing, complete nothingness, not empty though, hard to describe, like it was full. And I stayed like it for a few minute, then opened my eyes again. I felt quite chuffed as I thought I had managed about 5 minutes, then I glanced at the clock, it was an hour later. What, I lost an hour???  What happened there. I came to the conclusion I must have fallen asleep, but wasn't so sure, as I was sure I remembered, and definitely decided to open my eyes as a conscious thought. Whatever, if I had fallen asleep for the hour, it was a blooming good sleep, because I felt incredibly relaxed and refreshed. Must do it again sometime.  ( I must add at this point, I'm not mad, at least I don't think I am)

Anyway, on that note, I must go to bed. It is late and I have to be off tomorrow (later on this morning) to see mum, either in Worcester, or Birmingham. Haven't decided yet.

A confirmation of dates, but no date of confirmation.


Such a long time (again) since I last wrote anything. I'm getting a bit useless at this all lately. So, what have I got to say for myself, now that I am here. Well, actually, I'm not quite sure, but thought I had better write something before I got completely out of the habit and gave up entirely.

I have been to work, as usual, and have nothing of particular interest to report on that. So I wont write anything about that.

On the church front   (nothing like the "Peoples front of Judea", .... although,..... now I come to mention it). No.. only joking. Oh dear, You'll have to excuse my rather poor attempt at Monty Python based humour, it just isn't working is it! Back to the story........

On the church front, we have been going as usual, nothing of great excitement there, however, Mr Vicar, although he still isn't sure about whether the date he wanted for the baptisms and confirmations, is good to go, he is starting classes this coming Sunday, just to make sure, or, just in case his chosen date is on.  So....... yeehaa. There are 5 classes to go to, and I am really rather looking forward to it. There will be at least three others going as well, which is great. Not sure whether I should be taking notes when there or what is going to happen, I will just have to wait and see wont I?

This week (Wednesday), MLO and I are sneaking off to North Wales to a little hideaway in the mountains (part way up Mount Snowdon to be precise) for a few nights for a break and some peace and quiet. Originally, I had booked the cottage for four nights and we were planning to come back Sunday, late evening. But then the farmer whose cottage it was rang me up and said that somehow they had managed to double book us for the Saturday night, and would have to leave on Saturday rather than Sunday. At the time I was rather annoyed, but looking back, I wouldn't have been able to go to the first confirmation class if we had stayed the Saturday night  (I didn't know that at the time though). It has all worked out rather well I think. Big grins all round.  

So, there I am up to date, that really is it, so TTFN... 

Where is the Joy?

After re-reading through some of my most recent posts, plus some older ones, I realised that I hadn't written much about the subject of my blog, the very reason that I started blogging in the first place, namely Hope and Joy. On Sunday at church the sermon was about Joy, and was given by a vicar who was so obviously full to brimming with joy himself. Made me stop and think about things a bit. He made the point that as Christians in the UK we aren't exactly famed for our abounding joy, that if we were to ask someone on the street to name a quality that they associated with church goers in this country, then joy probably wouldn't be mentioned there. A very good point. More often that not, just as everyone else, I can look rather glum, and feel glum too, but I know that the reasons on my part are usually pretty pathetic in the scheme of things, maybe my future Mother in Law, has chewed my ear off over something and upset me, or MLO had said or done something. The problem is that I then go out, or to work and instead of focusing on the bigger things, I concentrate on the little things, and turn myself from someone who is, and appears to be happy and joyful into someone rather miserable, with a bit of a mood to boot. Not always, but I know more than once I have turned up to church in a rather less than joyful state because I have been upset by something said, and rather than being as friendly and open as I can, I have been rather short with people. I don't intend to though, but I am a bit over emotional at times when I don't mean to be. The result of all that usually ends up with me getting rather mad at myself for behaving like it to people.
So where is the joy, why don't I show it all the time, why cant I always concentrate on God, Jesus and everything that they are in my life, the fact that God is up there dancing away when he thinks of us (that's how the vicar put it anyway, and when he said it I got the most hilarious image of God with all the host of heaven having a right old hoe down, and almost burst out laughing). He asked us how that made us feel, knowing that God was up there celebrating every moment because of us, He loved us that much. I am totally able to accept the fact that Jesus loves me, and I have unfailing faith in that fact, no problem in declaring it, that He is my Saviour, if asked I would gladly say so, and from time to time I could have leapt across the rooftops crying this out, and have been reduced to tears when I have stopped and really thought about it, and there are also occasional days when the whole world full of people is wondrous amazing and beautiful, and I really seem to get it, but there are days when I lose sight of it all, praying becomes a chore rather than something I want and need to do, every little thing upsets me and I become unhappy or rather unjoyful. I need to go and have a good think about it all. I'll get back to you on that.
The last week has been a bit uneventful although I did come down with a rather nasty throat infection over the weekend before last, and by the early hours of last Tuesday I couldn't swallow, it was too painful. I had to take a day off work to go to see a doctor. One problem, I hadn't visited a doctor for over twenty years, and wasn't even sure where I was registered if at all, I certainly wasn't registered in Herefordshire. Unsure what to do, MLO took me to the hospital to see the on duty GP. Got there, and the receptionist said that no-one would see me as I wasn't registered anywhere, and I would have to register at a doctors surgery before I could be seen. My throat at this point felt like it was coated in stones and simultaneously being hacked at with a rusty saw, and not able to swallow, rather uncomfortable. MLO asked for me what would be required, and the receptionist said I would need my passport, birth certificate and any social security things, etc etc. MLO took me on the off chance to his doctors in the nearby village who said, yes I did need to register at that surgery, but all I had to do was fill in a simple form. Once registered they made an appointment for me for that afternoon. One doctor visit later and a prescription for some antibiotics and I was sorted. The throat is still slightly hoarse but doesn't hurt.
Work again Thursday and Friday. Saturday was spent with MLO and Mum wandering round Hereford, didn't do an awful lot though, so cant really say anything on that. Sunday, as it was my weekend off, we went to the morning service, which was a morning worship service rather than communion. Not so many people there compared to the last few times. Vicar got his guitar out and accompanied a couple of the songs with some extremely vigorous strumming. Was a great happy service, MLO was a bit unimpressed, he said it was American type nonsense, and just wasn't Church of England. Oh dear. He is quite happy to go to the village church, but it is getting a struggle to get him to agree to go to the town church. I said its not how we do, that counts but what we do, he gave me a look as if to say don't bring that cliche out on me, and remained completely unimpressed. Still no word on being confirmed, from the pew sheet it seems the vicar still doesn't know when it will be. Didn't have chance for much of a chat after church, still nevermind it will happen when it happens, and as long as it does I'm not really too worried when.
So there you are, all up to date, nothing more to say, except night night and au revoir till next time.

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Dunnocks and work

Again, quite a long time since my last post, never mind though I'm back now. Has been another quiet couple of weeks, hence the long gap between posts. Have had a longish week at work this week, as the other girl was off to Yorkshire, I had to cover her, so ended up doing 11 hour days most of this week, you have no idea how glad I am that I don't need to get up for work tomorrow. MLO has no work either, his mum is also off in Yorkshire, on a coach trip, so will be a lovely peaceful day at home.

Has been quite cold here, we have had the first proper Autumn mists and fogs, I love the smell of Autumn mornings, and the way the mist and fog muffle sounds, so everything seems all quiet and mysterious. This morning, as I didn't have to get to work till 9 , the sun was well up in the sky, and a mist was rising all through the trees and the fields, which looked so gorgeous, I couldn't resist taking a picture of it.

It turned out to be a lovely sunny day today, and not that cold once the sun got going. For a change, there wasn't any church this evening, instead people from the evening church could go to a service at the cathedral celebrating twenty five years of the St Michael Hospice. The reason we went there instead, was because Mr M one of the people who is part of the church was one of the original founders all those years ago. He is a doctor, and the reason he started it along with another woman called Freda Pearce, was because he was so frustrated with the lack of proper care provisions for people with terminal illnesses, and after visiting a hospice in Birmingham (I think that is what he said) St Barnabas, he was so moved and amazed by the warmth that he received from staff and patients alike, that he decided to try to start a hospice in Herefordshire. 

Roll on a few years, after finding a suitable site, they negotiated with the sisters from the local convent, who agreed to let them have the land at a rent of £5 per year (I am sure that's what was said), and building work was started. 

A few other people talked about their part in the hospice, a ward sister, a daughter of someone who stayed there, and a couple of the other trustees and founders. The cathedral was almost full, and along with readings, poetry and some great hymn singing, was a brass band playing as well as the wonderful organ.  It was a lovely service.

A few days ago,  Thursday, just as I was closing up the shop, I heard an odd noise, I  looked and caught something out of the corner of my eye, a small dark object traveling at great speed around the shop, coming to a halt when it rammed into the large glass of the window. I looked at it and it turned out to be a poor little sparrow that had flown in at some point and couldn't find its way back out. I managed to pick it up, the poor thing was terrified (obviously) and also quite stunned, so I held it in my hand for a minute or so till it had calmed down. It was so warm and small. I then  had a customer who needed serving so held the sparrow in my hand for a couple more minutes, so it couldn't fly round the shop anymore, it really didn't appear to mind it all that much, once the customer had left, I thought it had better go back out, but I first wanted to get a picture, so out came the phone. The little sparrow was utterly unfazed and appeared to haver made itself quite at home on my hand, as I held it open, it didn't want to go anywhere. I went outside and held my hand up for it to go, but it didn't budge, so I shook my hand a little, still no sparrow, no go. I held my hand downwards, and the sparrow shinnied up my arm. Daft creature. So I looked at it and told it it really couldn't hang about on my arm all day long. the funniest thing was when it looked right at me, it must have been concussed,  as it blinked at me as though it sat on peoples arms everyday, and I was the one who was a bit daft for attempting to remove it. Adorable. I then told it in no uncertain terms that it really did have to go, and with one last blink, it left. 

Thinking about it, looking at the little thing, it couldn't have been a sparrow, as it has the wrong bill, I am guessing that it was a dunnock now.

Anyway, up to date again. So I am off to bed where I plan to stay until at least eight o clock in the morning. TTFN

Last week, and today

Well, here we are, another week, and another month, and still nothing much to write about. Pathetic isn't it? Anyway, as I am feeling fairly game right now, I will attempt to convey a witty and amusing post full of hilarious anecdotes from my last week. Then I will stop; and realise, this is me we are talking about here, and give up. That sounded a bit miserable didn't it, it wasn't meant to though, as I am certainly not miserable in any way. 

Back to the last week, and it has been one of those all or nothing type of weeks, very quiet and slow, or full tilt ahead busy. Last Monday started off well enough, washing day as usual,Tuesday work, as usual. Tuesday was one of the crazy busy bits. Attempting to stick  three stamps each, on almost a thousand envelopes, and being expected to do it single handedly in just over an hour and a half, with several customers and a stock delivery in between, not sure whether to be flattered that they thought it possible of me, or otherwise just annoyed that they didn't have any idea how long it might take, and then being peeved at me for not managing it. Anyway help was drafted in, in the form of a driver, yard supervisor, cleaner and girl who should have been on her day off. Three quarters of an hour later we had finished , at last.

Wednesday was another day off, so I went to raid the local library for some brain food. Had a wander round town, then back home.

Thursday work again, interminably quiet day, Friday work also, quiet again, but not so bad as Thursday. Saturday and Sunday were also work days, and both went without incident.  

Sunday afternoon was church again, and it was Harvest Festival. The church had been decorated beautifully the previous day with all manner of flowers fruit and veg, including loads of lovely wild plants, fruit and bushes. We had taken a box full of tinned veg, meat fruit and drink for the harvest festival, as we arrived I stuck my head round the door, the place was full, but no other boxes were in evidence, and decided I must have misread the previous weeks pew sheet, so MLO left the box in the porch underneath the bench. Anyway, we went in and had to sit quite near the back as it was so full, which was brilliant. The sermon, rather than just thanking God for our harvest, for what we had been given, The vicar gave us a printout showing how much is spent on various aid packages, in comparison with how much is spent on wars, government bailouts, various company profits and individual peoples worth, the differences were shocking.

As we were leaving and talking with the vicar, he said he would know the final date for my confirmation date, on the 15th of this month. All I currently know is, that it will be in January sometime. 

Anyhoo, Yesterday was a day spent in the garden and doing tons of housework, today as is usual for a Tuesday, I was at work, although I did get to rescue a baby toad this evening at work, I found it hopping across the floor of one of our store rooms, so cute, and only just over an inch long. I got it to crawl into a big glass bowl, then took it outside and popped it in the garden of the people next door. Hope they didn't mind.  

There you are, all up to date. Not much to tell though. Sorry.

Up to date for now.

It took me rather longer to get back than I anticipated, so must apologise for the delay.

From Burnham Deepdale, We made or way back to the campsite to start packing up ready for leaving on Monday morning. When we returned to the campsite, the transformation was amazing, from being packed to the gunnels when we left in the morning, to being practically deserted on our return. And so quiet, we were originally a little peeved when everyone turned up on the Friday and then the Saturday, but it was great fun watching everyone doing their stuff. The campsite seemed almost eerily quiet that evening. 

Next morning and we had a nice early start, and got everything packed away into the car, then we took down the tent packed that all up and put it in the car and we were good to go. We had intended to call in to the village stores in Stiffkey before we left, but there was nowhere to park up. We carried on along the coast road towards Cromer,  stopping at Salthouse to climb up on the shingle bank and stare at the sea for a while. After shaking all the small pebbles out of our shoes we headed off towards Cromer again. When we arrived, we parked up, and walked into the town. 

It is quite a sweet place, nothing special, but nice and quiet. We had a wander around the place for a couple of hours, then , as it was getting towards lunchtime, MLO said we should have some fish and chips as we were beside the seaside, so off we went to find a suitable purveyor of our chosen lunch items. That done and the good purchased we went off to sit on a bench outside the church (the wind was way too fierce to sit looking out to sea, and the church was a good shelter form the wind). We ate our lunch and decided to go into the church and have a look round (what a surprise eh?). As we walked in there was a huge map of Britain, with pins in it that people had stuck in, to show where they had come from. There were a couple from near to where we lived, and we stuck in a pin for here. Then we looked around the rest of the church. Quite a nice bright and airy church, but with a fair bit roped off, so we couldn't see all of it. The tower was open for climbing up, but neither of us were feeling particularly energetic, so missed that, though we may do it next time we come to Norfolk. 

Then it was time to leave for home. As we were lower down Norfolk we decided to cut across country rather than going back up towards Peterborough and across from there. So worked out a route that came home via Norwich, Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes Buckingham Oxford and Gloucester. It took a while longer  than the journey over, but that was due mainly to there being mile after mile of roadworks by Bedford. Much more interesting traveling that way home and much less tedious than cutting across from Coventry to Peterborough . 

Anyway we got home about half past nine and had to unload the cat right away as MLO had work on one of his farms early next morning. 

I went back to work on the Thursday, so had a couple of days rest at home to get over the holiday. It was good to be back at work actually, surprised myself how good it felt to be back.  Work went without incident, Mr and  Mrs Boss were away for the weekend in Italy, so nice and peaceful about the place.

On Sunday, it was back to church again, and it was nice to be back there again. Back to normal. Monsieur Vicar, said it was nice to see us again and have us back which was nice. He asked us how our holiday was. That service, as it was our evening worship rather than a communion service the vicar had a lady from the other church come and lead the service, who wants to be a vicar. It was a lovely service. She led very well, not sure I would have the guts to do it myself,  infact the idea of doing it is too scary to contemplate. 

Last week passed rather uneventfully, it was weekend off again, so met Mum in Hereford on Saturday as it was here turn to come down here. Unusually for a Saturday MLO wasn't at the football working, so had his company all day too which was a lovely bonus. After scrambled eggs on toast at All Saints, we wandered aimlessly for several hours, not doing anything in particular.  I suggested that we could go to the Evensong at the cathedral, everyone seemed in agreement, so we wandered over just before half five and settled down for the service.  Mum enjoyed it, MLO enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it, so all happy there, just hope they didn't mind three people turning up with shopping bags in tow, spread all over the pew. Mum caught the train back at eight o clock.

Yesterday, being my Sunday off, we went to the morning service and the evening service. The morning one was a morning worship service, so all sorts were going on. There was a man called Shem there, who was headmaster at the Archbishop John Sepeku secondary school in  Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, which a few of the teachers from the Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat school had visited.  The Diocese of Hereford was twinned with three in Tanzania, and three projects were chosen by the Bishops of the three Dioceses in Tanzania, of which the school is one. It was opened in 2004, but is still desperately underfunded and the headmaster 's dearest wish is to enable him to grow the school to reach even more students, but cannot do so without more building work, and money for basics such as textbooks. There is an old chapel there which he would love, to be restored, and several blocks of buildings are unfinished, even the kitchens still have no roof on them. He came to talk about what had been done, what needed doing, and what was needed to do it, a basket was set up at the exit of the church for people to donate money for the school as we left. The evening service was also very enjoyable as we had no organist, and no other means of accompaniment, so we all sang a capella (if that is how you spell it, I'm not certain).The first hymn was an interesting mix of several different tunes all vying for position, I cant remember what that one was though. The second was a resounding success Alleluia. Sing to Jesus. Which everyone one knew, so we sang our hearts out, it sounded great, the organ really wasn't missed for that one. The last hymn was Breathe on me Breath of God, great MLO and I thought, we know the tune to this one too, so this'll be a good one too. Unfortunately the person who got us started also knew the tune, but a completely different one to the one we knew, but we just about got the hang of it by the last verse.  Still good fun though. After the service as we were getting ready to go, the vicar said that the confirmations would probably be in January, but he just had to book the confirmation classes. seems by that comment that he wont be doing them, just so long as he doesn't stick us on an Alpha course, I don't worry who it is, but it would have been nice to have the vicar. But then again, my hearing really isn't the best perhaps I misheard, at least I hope so. 

Well, there I am up to date again, sort of. I didn't include today, I thought I had wittered on enough already, so will do today tomorrow or the day after.  

North Norfolk camping and stuff

 think it is about time that I got on and wrote a proper blog again, it has been far too long now. I shall begin with our little trip to Norfolk, which was thoroughly enjoyable thankyou.

We eventually got away Wednesday before last (the 10th), and headed off via Worcester and the M5, M42 and Peterborough to the wonderful little coastal village of Stiffkey, in between Wells-Next-The-Sea and Cromer. (Famous for its crabs). The campsite was quite large and it took us almost half an hour to decide where best to pitch up, eventually we made up our minds, and up went the tent.  That night we had camp chilli, which is a wonderful quick meal when you are too tired to do anything more than sling a few tins together to heat. Stewed steak, kidney beans and tomatoes with a chopped onion and seasoning, delicious, with precooked rice. Camping can be such fun. Early to bed that night and up with the larks the following morning. Got the shower block all to myself, bliss. Once MLO and I had prettied ourselves up we decided to go to Norwich for the day, as it would give him a bit of a break from driving. All along the North Norfolk coast runs a bus service that goes directly to Sheringham and Cromer,  from where a train could be caught to Norwich. The best bit was though that an all in one ticket was available for just £7, which gave unlimited travel between Hunstanton and Norwich via bus and train. We were pretty chuffed when we found out about it.  

Anyway we arrived in Norwich and headed up the hill. By the time we had got sorted waited for a bus and then train, it was lunch time by the time we got there, so as we were passing MLO said we should go to the cathedral for lunch and a look round. Off to the refectory first of all for lunch. Baked potato, ham and salad followed by lemon drizzle cake yum.  Oh and don't forget the tea. Once we were suitably refreshed, we set off to explore the cathedral. At the bottom of the steps from the refectory was the cloisters, so we started there. So glad I took my nice camera even though it can be a pain to carry round at times. Like they say; no pain no gain.


We wandered around the cloisters for a while taking lots of pictures. In the center was a labyrinth which would have been great to walk round, but we wanted to see inside first So off we went along the cloisters to the first door we could find and in we went. Wow. Thats all you can say. mightily impressive. Yet more photographs. After a thoroughly enjoyable few hours looking round the cathedral, it was unfortunately time to head back to the train.

On the Saturday, we went for drive around local villages in the area. The weather was completely perfect, the sky was so incredibly blue and not a cloud in sight. We ended up at Walsingham. When we got there the place seemed deserted, with only an extremely happy smiley nun there. We wandered round the village looking at the various shops, then had a coffee. We then went down to the  Anglican shrine. We spent a couple of hours there, then as time was going on, we left. We paid a short visit to the farm shop  there and bought some lovely bread and meat for our dinner that night. On the way to the shop a couple of buses turned up and the village went from being wonderfully peaceful to bustling and busy in a matter of seconds. We were stood watching all the people that had got off, it was almost funny the difference in the place. We also bought a couple of rolls, some pate and apple juice, and sat in a field just across the road from the farm shop and had an impromptu picnic, which was incredibly enjoyable in the warm sunshine.   

I think I decided I want to live there, it was almost like the village was in a time warp, or surrounded by a little bubble, so amazingly peaceful and calm there.   When we went to Norfolk, we didn't realise that Walsingham was there, so that came as quite a lovely surprise, and gave us a perfect excuse for a visit, when we realised how close it was.

We also visited Wells next the Sea that day too which is the only town along the north part of the Norfolk coast which is still navigable by sea, all the rest along that stretch of coast having silted up and tuned over to salt marsh. Other towns and villages along the north coast are practically landlocked, if you can call saltmarsh land, that is, and places like Cley-next-the-Sea, aren't, Blakeney with it's enormously impressive church. You know me and churches by now, well, I couldn't resist asking MLO if we could go and have a look.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 Blakeney church really is quite huge, and oddly enough has two towers one at either end, although you cant see it on my picture, sorry about that. It was a lovely church inside and out. I think the reasons that the churches along this part of the coast are so large is down to wool, and the fact that so much of the English wool was sent over to the low countries via ship, and these villages and towns having once been quite major ports, a large proportion of the wool was shipped out from here, and as such the wool traders and merchants made lovely profits, some of which went into church building and renovating. The churches at Cley, Wiveton and Salthouse are similar.   
On the Sunday morning we decided to brave the natives and go to the church at Stiffkey. We had visited it the previous evening to check there was a service the next day, and what time if there was. It was lucky for us that there would be a service at 9:30, so we went to that one. When we entered a lovely man greeted us, and handed us a reading sheet, the service booklet and hymn book, then explained that due to the fact that they currently didn't have a vicar looking after them, that it would be a family service, and that we were to sit in the choir stalls, facing everybody. Aargh, I thought, I don't like facing other people to much like that, but too late to back out now I thought, so MLO and I went to get seated. A lovely lady there said hello and welcome to us, and showed us a seat. A few minutes went by and a couple of other people arrived. The man who had greeted us then stood up to do the service. We had a couple of hymns, and a lady read something that she had read in a book, and two others did the readings. The service itself only lasted half an hour. At the end, the man who had led the service said thankyou to the organist, which was a lovely thing to do, and in return the organist played something else, at the end of which everyone clapped. MLO and I were unsure as to what to do next, whether to make a bolt for it, or hang around looking like lemons if no-one spoke, but as we wandered up to go, the lady who had shown us a seaat told us that there was coffee and biscuits and we would be extremely welcome to stop and have some if we wished. We couldn't turn down such a lovely offer. We got talking about all different things, the people there were so lovely. We started talking then to the man who had led the service, and he asked us where we were from, and whether we were on holiday. When we told him we were from Herefordshire, he said "Really, what part" so we told him a few miles east of the city. He then said that he knew a few people in Herefordshire, and then mentioned Tarrington, where MLOs Mums church is, and where the farm used to be, turns out, he knows people that MLO and his mum also know very well. Small world.
Half an hour later, after much talking, we decided we had better go, and so said our goodbyes. The lady whose name we found out was Helen, who had shown us our seat, actually thanked us for visiting their church, and said that she hoped we would be going again. We promised we would whenever we were next in that part of the world, and went on our way back to the campsite.
Later that day, we went along the coast towards Hunstanton, which we weren't particularly impressed with, but when we drove through we maybe missed the nicer parts, but it reminded us a bit of a small version of Rhyl. As we headed back along we thought we had better stop for lunch at some point. We came to the village of Thornham, and turned along a little road towards the sea, and came across a lovely looking pub called the Lifeboat Inn . Just in time for Sunday lunch,  marvelous.  It was lovely and the food was good too. As we were eating there was the sound of bells coming from outside, so we looked out, and a troop (is that the correct word?) of Morrismen had turned up to dance, along with an enormous green felt dragon, who kept peering in through the windows and frightening people, which was highly amusing. 

Once Lunch was over and we were well fed and contented, we went on our way back to the campsite, and stopped at Burnham Deepdale to get some water from the shop. There just happened to be a church across the road, with a round tower, so, obviously, it required further investigation.   In the porch is a pair of lovely medieval windows, one depicting the moon, and one the sun. Inside there is a lovely font showing twelve scenes from a farming year.  The res of the church was quite interesting, with a tiny little chapel of sorts in the round tower end of the church.    

I have written enough for today, I think, and will finish off tomorrow, and bring myself up to date, so for now, goodbye.          

Seeing if the phone is good to blog.

this is going to be another quick post, as it is entirely unscheduled. Mum has lent me her nokia n97 for a few days, and I am seeing whether blogging is at all possible on it. Which, due to the mini keyboard, is entirely possible and also quite enjoyable. I can type quite quickly with my two thumbs. Test post over now. Would be cool to blog when out and about on this phone. Shame she wants it back really. Never mind.

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Back for a short one

Well, hello there, long time no see. Did you miss me? No...... Oh well never mind. Anyway, I am back, but only for a short post right now, it is late after all.  I really want to write a bit about Norfolk, but right now, I don't have the time, or energy to do that. Have been busy busy busy since we got back, so will attempt to give a full account tomorrow night. So tatty bye for now. 

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Days out, a birthday and supremely good news.

I have retrieved the phone now, which contains the pictures, so can put them up on here. 

As I said yesterday, mum and I went to Northampton on Saturday, and spent a bit of time whilst there looking round churches.There were three that we visited, the first we came across by chance, as we were walking into the town from the train station. This was the church of St Peter, and although it is still used, it is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust.  We had to go up the road to a local hotel in order to get the keys to open up the church, which we did after them taking ID etc. We then spent about an hour looking round and taking pictures. As we were leaving I heard someone at the gate outside, which we had locked up behind us, they wanted to come in. I had to explain that I needed to take the key back and sign it back in, before they could have it, and as such needed to follow me up the road so they could then sign it out.  The man and the woman seemed a little miffed that I couldn't just give them the key, but I had no idea what would happen if I didn't take the key back.

Anyway, from there we carried on our way towards town, when mum saw a signpost for one of the other churches that we wanted to see, but it was heading up along the side of a very big and busy road, so we decided we would get into town and have a wander round there first. We went off to find the tourist information first to get a map of the town, and found the way to the church. So off we went to St Sepulchre church, one of only four churches in Britain , where the round church part is still standing.  It was surprisingly huge inside, but lovely. 

From there we left to go and find lunch somewhere, and ended up in M&S for a cheese and mushroom toastie, which is delicious. Suitably refreshed we set off into the own again, There was a huge market there so we had a mooch round that, then round some of the shops. We had enough a little while after and headed back to the station, but a different way to the one we had come into the town, and passed the church of All Saints, and as it was open, had to go in.  What a lovely building, with probably the most comfortable pews  I have ever sat on. Everything that could be was either painted, mainly brown or covered in gold. 

Well, we left there eventually, and made our way home. Didn't do an awful lot in Brum once we had got back. 

This last week has been quite an enjoyable one for me, not sure why, it just has. Monday was spent at home getting washing and things done, Tuesday was a day at work. Wednesday was MLOs birthday, so we went to one of his favourite food pubs for a celebratory lunch. Just outside Raglan by Monmouth, the Cripplecreek Inn, who do lovely roast lamb with mash and veg, swiftly followed by the largest individual berry pavlova I have ever seen in my life, thinking back I wish I had taken a photograph of it, as it was truly gargantuan. Once MLO had nobbled most of the cream, which I am not too fond of, I have to say it was utterly delicious. MLO had a rather more mundane piece of apple pie, which was only spectacular in its ordinariness, but as MLO is the worlds biggest apple pie fan, he was completely contented. We went to Monmouth afterwards but didn't stay long due to torrential rain making it pretty unpleasant going, especially so as we only had the one umbrella between us, and neither of us were wearing a jacket. We went home then after that. MLOs mother was away up in the peak district Wednesday and Thursday, so a blissfully quiet couple of day were had at home. 

Thursday was work again, as was Friday, Saturday and again this morning (Sunday). 

During the week, I finally sorted out whether I could have the few days of next week to go camping in Norfolk, and I am glad to say I can. So camping preparations are going at a great pace, time has crept up on us and overtaken without so much as a by or leave, and we have found that due to the fact that we are both working straight through to Tuesday evening, and  with MLO having a meeting on Tuesday night there is practically no time to sort all the stuff out. We did manage to get our tent out and put it up in the back garden,to check to see if it was still waterproof. Being a heavy cotton canvas one, we weren't about to take any chances, so with MLO standing inside, and me totally drenching it with the hose outside, we couldn't find a single drip or leak, so good to go.  

As I had work this morning, we could only get to the evening service. On the way to church, I had the strangest feeling that something was happening again, quite apart from my rumbling tummy, and got to church in a far more cheerful happy mood than I have done of late. Was a good service, quite amusing in parts, especially the part where the vicar sprang a new hymn on us, and the entire first verse was sung in silence and whispers as no one could figure out the tune, even the vicar was quiet on that point.  Eventually someone sang out in the second verse, and everyone else gradually joined in as they got it. By the fifth and final verse we were going great guns. At the end of the service we said the usual goodbyes etc, then he mentioned the weather and we talked about going camping, then all of a sudden, he said that he was finally sorting out some dates for confirmation classes, but just had to finalise a date with the Bishop.  All I could do was grin like a Cheshire cat and say thank you, and positively skipped out of church and back to the car. Still haven't stopped smiling yet. I had almost begun to think he had forgotten, but just when I feel something is going to happen, it does. Totally cool. Woohoo, yay etc.  God really is Great.  :-) 

I have to be up early again for work tomorrow, and want to get quite a lot done there, so I must go for now. So TTFN. Good night etc. 

Just a short one.

I was wondering whether to post tonight, obviously, I decided that I would.

It hasn't been too bad a week this week, work went quite well, nothing disastrous happened, and yesterday I went with mum to visit Northampton.  As neither of us had been there before, I thought it would make an enjoyable day out. Quite a nice place, and a few lovely and interesting churches to see there too, took a few pictures, but don't have the phone with me right now, so will post tomorrow all about them, and put a few pics in too, for good measure.

As it is my weekend off, we had church twice today, St Pauls Tupsley, this morning, and St Andrews Hampton Bishop, this evening. Fullish church as usual this morning, and an enjoyable service. This evening at St Andrews, as it was the fifth Sunday of the month, the service was from the Book of Common Prayer, rather than Common Worship. MLO was exceedingly happy, as it meant no peace. Being as it was an older service, there were a few extra people in church, who only ever come for that particular service, 21 rather than a usual 15 or so at best. Shame about the hymns though, not particularly singable. I cannot sing particularly high notes very well, but a lot of hymns are full of them. I end up either trying to sing low like the men or just mouthing the words in the high bits, otherwise I'd sound like a cat being castrated, not good I can tell you. 

Anyway will post again tomorrow with pics from Saturday, and anything else I remember, so TTFN. 

Mums up a mountain

Monday again. As is usual on a Monday, I have had the day off work, and nothing happened, so nothing different there either. My mother on the other hand went to Snowdonia today, and caught the little train up to the top of Mt Snowdon, and while it was pouring with rain and dark grey cloud here, for a change the weather around Snowdon couldn't have been lovelier, warm, dry and a glorious blue sky. So mum was incredibly chuffed that she chose today to go.  

By midday she was back down, and wondering what to do with the rest of her day. I suggested she go to The Electric Mountain, which isn't as hair raising as it may sound, but is a power station that was built inside a Snowdonian Welsh mountain. MLO and I visited it last November when we last went to North Wales. Really amazing how they had made enormous caverns inside the mountain to house all the generator equipment and water pipelines. One thing that really surprised me was the way they generate the electricity, and sell it on to the grid. The most surprising thing of all ,was the fact that they use more electricity in the process than they actually produce. Dreadfully wasteful, but apparently it makes them plenty of money, so that must be OK then. What they do is, right at the top of the mountain is a natural lake which they partially dammed, and put an enormous plug hole in (really), during the day, the plughole is opened and the flow of water is controlled through the many pipelines and drives various turbines to generate the electricity. The water that has flowed down, then empties into a lake at the bottom of the mountain. Because all this is done during the day, the electricity is sold at peak rate to the grid. Then, at night all the water that came down the mountain during the day, is slowly but surely pumped back up into the top lake ready for the next day. And although it uses a lot more electricity to take it back up, the company (First Hydro) buy the electricity that enables them to do it, at the cheap nightly rate, thereby creating a profit, but bizarrely for a power station using more electricity than it produces. 

On the tour you are driven in to the mountain on a bus complete with hard hats, and get off at various points in the power station. There is one man made cavern there, that is the largest in Europe and contains the six main turbine generators , it is absolutely gigantic. 

I have work again tomorrow, so should get to bed soon. MLO should have been out tomorrow judging maize crops for the agricultural society, but for some reason none of the farmers who should have been having their maize judged have got back to him, so no go there. If they aren't quick though it will be too late. He isn't too bothered though as he gets a lie in the morning, and the rest of the day off too. He's quite happy infact. 

Next Wednesday is his birthday and quite brilliantly both of us have a free day, and his mum can't claim dibs on him as she is off on another holiday, have promised him lunch out but not sure where yet.

Garway church and work

Nothing much to write about again today, but I thought I should at least make some sort of effort. When I looked at my blog earlier it had pretty blue pictures all over it telling me that I had exceeded my bandwidth. It wasn't me though but the person who was hosting the images for the template I use. I have now copied the images and saved them to a draft post so never need worry about bandwidth again.

Was a quiet day at work again, no surprises there. One exciting thing though we are going to have a complete makeover (the garage, not The Other Girl and I). After 10 years of putting up with dreadful magnolia walls and oil stained flooring, it's about time. We will have plumbed in heating too for the first time in years, which will be great. In winter, it is quite often warmer in the fridge than in the rest of the place. Had a chap in on Tuesday to measure the place up and decide on plans etc. Probably the least talkative man on earth.  So spent a slightly uncomfortable couple of hours wondering whether to say something and not get an answer, or just say nothing and have him think me ignorant. I hate it when things like that happen.

Yesterday as MLO had to collect some paperwork from one of his farms, and I had a day off I went with him for a ride. Rather brilliantly, the farm was over at Garway, MLO said as I had wanted to go there for so long, he would take me there after finally figuring out where in the village it is.  Nice old church it is, all angles where bits have been added, changed and joined together. We had a good look round the inside and took a few pictures, including one of a rather lovely green man. Inside it had some gorgeous old solid oak pews, but the poor place was very damp and dirty. Several of the steps had green algae on them. We decided to sit down for a few minutes when  a couple of people came in, shortly followed by another. The last lady turned out to be some sort of guide, and was about to open up the tower for the other two people to look at and said we could come along too if we wished.  As we went through she gave us all the history of the place and told us all sorts of stories about the church. Mainly about the Templars but that was to be expected I suppose. 

One fascinating thing was that in the 16th century when a passageway was built to connect the tower to the church, the resourceful builders reused  most of the templar tombstones as window lintels and steps, so when you look up above the windows there is quite often a carved sword or similar. The tower itself is 13th century, and has walls that are 4ft thick. It does feel incredibly old when you go in, and has two deeply recessed windows, that would look just as at home in a castle.

 On the floor in the tower were some lovely old tombstones beautifully carved. In the corner was the door up into the tower, but the lady said they wont allow anyone up there any more, as it is so dark and narrow, plus she said with the tower being open there is bird doo all over the stairs. She said the last time anyone was up there was five years ago when they took a group up, problem was, one lady got so scared she refused to come back down the narrow stairs, and it took almost two hours to coax her down. Also in the room along with a rather nice collection of lawnmowers and bellringing ropes was an old oak chest, almost 7 ft long and made from a single block of wood, and the gnarliest metal hinges which the lady told us  was thought to be an original templar chest, she mentioned that a dendrochronolgist had been and dated it, and he agreed with the dating. Apparently other tests had been done to determine how old it really was, and they too came to the conclusion that it was templar, but she wasn't sure what test it was that had been done.

After we had had another look round inside, and listened to a bit of the history of the place, we went for a wander round outside. A short distance across a bit of a run down orchard/paddock was the dovecote or columbarium, we didn't have much time to go and see it, besides which we hadn't asked the people who owned the land. All the time we were outside we could hear a bird of prey screeing, and looked if we could see it, from what we saw, and heard, it was probably a hen harrier, which is quite cool, thats twice I have seen one in Herefordshire now. He ended up sitting in a tree for several minutes and calling out almost the whole time, so no idea what was up with it. To finish, we strolled up to the top of the graveyard and took a couple of pictures looking down on the church to finish off. 

We came home via a lovely road , and ended up coming out at Pontrilas, a very lovely detour indeed.  We got home just after half past seven, and had shepherds pie for tea.

That just about all there is to tell now, so will say ttfn for now, and au revoir etc etc. 

Walk along the Hereford to Gloucester canal, sunshine and church

What a lovely day today has been, in all ways. Perfect weather, perfect company what more could anyone ask for? 
Ended up missing church this morning, as helping MLOs mother get everything ready for the lunch today took rather longer than first thought, but nevermind. After that was done and she had been packed off to Tarrington to the hall along with MLO who had been roped in to set out the tables and chairs, I had a while to myself, so had a nice long conversation with God about stuff, and how it is going. It is a bit odd really though, not so long ago, whenever I was praying, or anything I almost had a feeling that He was there, right there, almost took it for granted, I suppose I imagined that it would always feel that way. Not entirely certain how I could ever go about explaining how I knew, if I try to say to MLO, it all sounds so vague. I need to try to explain myself a bit better, I really really do. Now, even though I am still certain that He is around all the time, it never seems as though He is right there at any point, that doesn't make much sense I know, I wish I could put it better. I'm useless at trying to explain why I feel how I feel about it all. I know all the reasons I have for it in my heart and head, but I always assume that isn't what people want to hear. Rightly or wrongly, probably wrongly for the most part.

   Back to today, as MLO and I had planned to go on a walk today somewhere, we decided to go a couple of miles away to the village of Yarkhill, and a walk that was organised by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire canal trust, along a section of the old Hereford to Gloucester canal that they have been restoring after having become overgrown after being disused for so long. After walking through fields that were being combine harvested we got to the canal after about 2/3 of a mile or so. I was surprised at how many people had turned out, although the weather was stunningly lovely, so that probably helped. To begin with we ended up going the wrong way, but had an extra bit of a walk that was just as enjoyable. We walked to the village of Monkhide to see the old skew bridge over the canal there, which the trust had restored previously. We realised that that wasn't where we should have gone, and walked back towards the village hall car park and on the way back found the gateway and field we should have gone through to start with. Had a lovely time. Saw a few people we knew, so stopped for a natter.  Also saw loads of different animals, most common, still nice to see. There was a couple of buzzards overhead calling most of the time as well as a kestrel. Loads of pheasant that had been released in the local woods for the shoots, but had spread all over the place out of the woods, and were fair game for anyone. Rabbits by the hundred diving out of the wheat field being harvested,, someones jack russell dog had got rather over excited and was diving all over the place trying to catch himself a rabbit. Dragonflies too, and more long tailed tits in one place that I have ever seen before in my life. The cutest little birds imaginable.

Got home just before quarter to five, just in time to get cleaned up, changed and off to church for the evening service. The vicar was back today for the evening worship. Had a nice mix of hymns and a good sermon, and lots of lovely quiet. Quite amusingly MLO fell asleep during the intercessions , everyone was so quiet, then all of a sudden there was some serious heavy breathing going on next to me, I looked at him and his head was on his chest and he was fast akip., the lady sat next to him on the other side gave him a bit of a funny look too, so I tapped him and he woke up. Wouldn't believe me when I told him though.  Made me smile. Got back home and MLOs mum had got back from the lunch, complete with what was left of the salads she had taken, so had salad for tea. She also brought back with her a rather delicious pear tarte tatin, which was utterly scrummy, and went down extremely well after salads.

Well there I am, up to date. Another day off work tomorrow yippee, have my washing to do then, so long as the weather stays dry and sunny, I should be able to get a lot done. 

Off to bed now, so night night all.

A day in Hereford

Well, another week has almost gone, halfway through August already. Unbelievable. At least the weather seems to have made its mind up as to which season it should be, and has finally settled on summer. Very warm, and sunny. Lovely.

Spent most of today in Hereford with mum, wandering round the shops and stopping for an occasional coffee. This week it has been the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford, an annual classical music festival that rotates between Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester. Most things took place in the cathedral, and has brought so many people into the city it has been wonderful. Really lovely and busy, in fact I would go so far as to say the place was buzzing. 

As part of the festival, there was entertainment on the nearby Castle Green, a couple of minutes walk from the Cathedral , by the river. There were Morris men dancing when we arrived and all sorts of medieval re enactment things going on, from herbalists, to a weapons maker covered in fake blood busy telling children what his arrows could do to a Frenchman. There was also a pig roast too.  Later a group from Herefords twin city Vierzon, in France played medieval instruments and danced in period costume, which was fun to watch. 

This week has again been a a very quiet one at work, so nothing to tell there. 

MLO and I went into Hereford on a flying visit on Wednesday to get some books back to the library and pick one up that I had had reserved for me, we popped into the map shop quickly, and they had a guide on the Norfolk Coastal path, complete with what to watch out for along the way, so we bought that, and also the maps we will need when we go. One thing I would love is one of the GPS units for walkers that you can have the entire Ordnance Survey maps on, but they are far to expensive, so I can continue to dream. One thing I am chuffed about is though; today I was looking at a medium rucksack in the camping stores round Hereford, but they were quite dear, on an off-chance, we went to TK Maxx, and lo and behold, they had two rucksacks of exactly the right size, a very good make, and less than a quarter of the price of elsewhere, so I was pretty chuffed with that. 

Thats all for now, will blog tomorrow (probably) at some point, MLO and I will be going to church early, then back to help MLOs mum with the Agricultural Societies lunch. (Trumpet and District Agricultural Society). Will have to write something about them at some point. Anyway after we are going for a walk, then church in the evening again. Mister Vicar is back from his soggy week at New wine, so will be nice to see a familiar face again.

A holiday in the planning, and other stuff

MLO and I have finally been able to get a few days together that don't clash with work or everything else, so that we can go off and get away from it all for a few days. Yay. So next month, we will be off for four whole days. Even better, I have finally persuaded MLO after 14 years of badgering to agree to go on a walking holiday. The kind where you leave the car, then walk for the next however long, stopping off en-route, each night and setting off again the next day. We will be carrying all our stuff in rucksacks so need to pack light. However, the only way I could convince him to agree, was to agree to going somewhere with no hills. So we will be walking the North Norfolk Coastal Path, which for the most part is flat, but with lovely views, and lovely places to visit along the way. Am really looking forward to it.
Yesterday, as the vicar was still away, we were very honoured to have the Archdeacon of Hereford the Ven Malcolm Colmer take the service, enjoyable service it was too. Afterwards MLO and I had a really long natter with C who we see every week, had a great laugh with him too, first time I had really talked with him since we started to go to the church.
Work was exceptionally quiet over the weekend, hardly came as a surprise though, seeing as it has been so quiet lately anyway.
Cannot think of much else to talk about right now, although I have been busy messing around on photoshop making new and pretty backgrounds for twitter and my computer.
Oh well, that really is all I can think of to write about now, will try to do something a little more interesting and less mundane, just so I can write about it, maybe I should start writing about what I read? I dont know. Anyway ttfn etc etc.

Thousands of ants, but no customers.

A short post here, as I don't have much to tell, and am really wondering why I am bothering to spend time writing about the fact that I have nothing to write about, but there you go, I am in one of those sort of moods right now, so that probably explains it.
The last few days have been exceptionally quiet at work, I think most of the population of Herefordshire have gone on holiday to sunnier climes, so very very quiet.
The weather today decided to be dry for the first time in ages, so there has been a mad flurry of combining and spraying and other things while the weather remains dry, round about the county. We have been quite lucky with the weather here it seems, in Warwickshire there have been downpours. After a small chance of rain here tonight it is set fair for the next week or so, but mainly cloudy, not much sun.

Yesterday at home we were invaded by flying ants. They all seemed to hatch at once, and at one point the grass of one of the front lawns was literally seething with them, a little while later though and they had almost all flown off. Spoke to an old boy who comes in occasionally, Mr M, and the same thing happened at his farm, at the same time too. When I was younger, and still lived in Birmingham, it used to happen there too, on one single day there would be flying ants everywhere, as they all seemed to hatch at the same time. The pavements used to get into a gunky mess from all of the ants that had been trodden on.
MLO and I have been trying to figure out when we can get away together this year, so far we haven't managed to get away, but the beginning of September is looking hopeful. Fingers crossed.
Have been having a few talks with MLO about stuff the past few days, figuring things out a bit more. Strange feeling lately though, everything has gone a bit quiet, not a completely bad feeling, just a bit odd, need to have a good old thinking and praying session. Preferably in peace and quiet, but that is a bit of a rare commodity lately, so will see how I get on. Other than that all is ok.
Anyway have work again in less than 8 hours, so must get off to bed asap, so night night.

Coventry Cathedral, rain and Phil Rickman

It is rather a long time since I last blogged, but, up until yesterday, there really was nothing worth writing about, just the usual work and day to day stuff.

However yesterday, was my Saturday off, so went up to Birmingham to go and see mum. After having visited Birmingham every other Saturday off, I had become a little bored with it, and so decided to go and visit elsewhere. Yesterday was the turn of Coventry. Poor old Coventry is not the most pleasant of cities, although if you leave the main center of the town, there are some lovely Medieval areas left to explore, and of course there are the two cathedrals, which were the main reason for our visit. 

On Friday night when I was mooching around on the net for inspiration of where to visit, I found out about a rail ticket that I had not previously known about, that allowed me to have unlimited travel in an area from Crewe to Stoke in the north, west to Shrewsbury, Gobowen and Hereford in the west, and Northampton, Lichfield and Stratford in the east and South, all for only £3.40 more than my regular return ticket, which seemed like stunning value, so of course, I bought one.

In the end, we only went to Coventry, as we took so long there, but still it was a saving.  I had been to the  new cathedral previously, and have gone from hating the sight of it when I first saw it years ago, to actually thinking of it as really lovely and incredibly impressive this time, it is definitely a building that grows on you, given the chance, but on first impressions I think you either love it or don't.   When you first go in, it does look incredible grey and industrial, but that is before you see the incredible stained glass windows and the tapestry. As you walk along the cathedral to the top, the windows are revealed one by on, until looking back you see every one glowing thee full height of the cathedral building.

When we arrived there was a choir practicing, with the organ accompanying them, so were treated to  some wonderful music, and standing dead center between the two halves of the organ when it was in full belt, was rather amazing, a group of German tourists were stood there some with their mouths open at how amazing it sounded, and with the choir singing center ahead of us, truly spectacular.

Before we went into the new cathedral , we had had a wander round the old one. Even though most of the body of the building was missing,, parts of the walls too and the roof completely and utterly absent, it still felt very much like a cathedral, and would be a lovely place for a service on a hot summers (dry) day. When we came to leaving the cathedral, we happened to have a look outside, and the rain was hammering down. Again. I was lucky in that I remembered to put my waterproof jacket in my bag that morning, and so we ventured out into it, it got so heavy at one point that there was a mist almost 2 or 3 feet high from the rain hitting the ground. We got about 20 yards, then decided that being out in the rain was not so wise, and dived into the cathedral shop, as had quite a few others. Had a bit of a look round, then mum decided we should go to the Transport museum, also in the city center. Quite a fascinating place, with vehicles from Victorian times to the present day, including a rather gorgeous brand new Jaguar. The Thrust SSC, holder of the world land speed record, breaking the sound barrier and reaching a speed of 763mph. Unfortunately as we had arrived at the museum only and hour before they were due to close, they had closed off some of the areas of the museum, including the one with the Thrust. Bit of a bugger really, but as it cost nothing to get in, will visit again soon.

On to Sunday, and church this morning, quite enjoyable. As the vicar is away at a New Wine thing this week, along with about 40 of the congregation, we had a lady from the Cathedral doing the service. She explained about the precautions to do with swine flu, and said as such, there would be no wine whatsoever, not even for dipping the bread in, slightly ott really. She then said we were to refrain from shaking hands at the peace, just nod at each other, this didn't go down to well.  She explained that the Bishop had sent them memo's with the guidelines on,  at that point a woman stood up, and said, in a rather consternated voice "I think you will find it was actually the Archbishop" , then promptly sat down again. Left the poor vicar slightly taken aback a bit, and then  she explained to everyone that the Archbishop had indeed originally set out what should be done, but that the Bishop of Hereford had been the one who had it said to her. Not quite sure what the woman thought she was achieving, in standing up and saying that, but she said it in such a way that it was almost as if she was implying the vicar was lying. When the vicar had explained, a good many people looked at the woman as if to say "Thats you told then". Quite amusing really. 

In the afternoon, we went over to the west of Hereford to a place called Kinnersley Castle, for a book launch of Phil Rickman's new book Merrily's Border, all about the place mentioned in his novels, with photographs and a bit of history to go with them. A very atmospheric old house, but nice and homely. There was a couple of tables there with various books, one with all Phil Rickmans novels for sale, including the ones he wrote under the name Will Kingdom, and on the other were books from his current books publisher Logaston Press. There were so many people there, wandering all over the house and gardens. Wine was there as were nibbles. When we arrived people were sat all over the place, up the stairs on sofas, lovely and relaxed there, not at all like any other book launch I remember. Phil Rickman himself was playing in the band on guitar, sounded pretty good too. A bit folky sounding for my taste, but still good. Well I made my purchase and MLO and I went off for a bit of a mooch around, the came in and went in the one room where he had encamped, to get my book signed. An hour or so later, we decided to go. Just as we were leaving we passed a car where, because of the wet the man had got himself into a pretty impressive rut, and who then decided the best way to get out of it would be to rev as hard as he could. Not the cleverest of plans. So MLO and I decided we had better help them. We got behind the car, and we said that if we rocked the car it should come free quite easily, so we rocked, and rocked a bit more, and rocked it forward far enough that Mr driver finally found some grip and got free. In return MLO and I got extremely muddy feet. Fun though.
We got home, and before we had had time to turn around, we had to get back off for evening church. We had a different vicar again, who did things a bit differently to the regular vicar, but everyone has a different way.
Anyway, that is me up to date, at last. Not sure what I will be doing tomorrow, so not sure if I will blog yet or not, will see how it goes. TTFN etc.

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Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Born in 1975 in Brixham, in glorious Devon. Spent most of my youth in grimy birmingham. As soon as i was able at 18 I moved to beautiful Herefordshire. Where i remain to this day. Work at Locks Garage, famous for our ice creams. Generally wonderful place.
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