Friday, 15 August 2014

Epitaphs and Inscriptions - Update

That was a surprise. There's been a   postscript to my postscript about Bill Lobban, who died in 1975, whilst trying to rescue another walker from drowning in  Loch Lomond . Go through to my first link to read a comment by a member of the family. What a small world - made even smaller by the wonders of modern communication. Definitely one of the more positive aspects of the internet, this one.  Memories, too of our walk along the same route nearly three years ago. Below are some shots from our travels that day, from Rowardennan to Ardlui along the Eastern shore of Loch Lomond.  Photos 9 and 15 show the cairn and inscription that commemorate the life of a true hero.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Travelling Light? The Saga continues

Gaze into the cavernous interior of Dark Vadar Mk II in wonder,  for it is He.  My order for DV Mk I was  cancelled, due to lack of stock. Trust me to plump on a model that seems to be rarer than hen's teeth! So, back to the drawing board...aka phone and laptop as I called up the firm who supplied me with the lamented but not yet late Amorphous Green Caterpillar.  In the end I plumped for a size down from my first choice, which is just as well, given that in the event of a repetition (please no!) of the Great Greenbelt Flood of 2012, I could probably have  housed half of the campsite in it. Customer service couldn't have been better. The chappie on the other end of the phone, shot downstairs to set aside one of the only 2 tents left, I did the needful and lo and behold, my new toy was with me so quickly I'd hardly time to say "Sewn-in groundsheet." Was I thrilled!

We'll draw a veil over my first attempt at pitching it in the back garden. Those who know me on the dreaded FB will have had more than enough of the gory details. Suffice it to say, I managed to extend the official pitching time of 7 minutes into 2 1/2 hours. Never mind, weather permitting, I'll be having a couple more practices before The Big Day. I've quite a record to beat.

Of course what pitching time doesn't include is all the arranging of gear, prettifying and prinking. Cue much weeping and wailing on my part. As I said, DV II is from the Goth school of tentery (is there such a word?) and I don't do Goth. So sorry DV, I'm not about to waste the pile of lovingly sewn  bunting and solar-powered fairy lights I've accumulated over the last few years, nor my favourite woolly caterpillar blanket. Tough. My  challenge is to transform the dark interior into something light and airy with the minimum amount of effort and expenditure. 

Mind you there was slight confusion in church this morning when somebody who'd   seen my  photos expressed surprise on seeing me there. They'd been under the impression that GB had already begun. This happens sometimes, as unlike many people, all my holiday posting on social media is always after the event. I don't have, nor do I intend to have a smartphone. No, as I blogged earlier, I have a brick. Turns out in my favour as it happens; I gather from the grapevine  that it's  possible that with limited mobile coverage on site, those   bog standard phones minus internet, bells and whistles may work more efficiently than their power greedy more sophisticated cousins. Isn't it  great to be at the cutting edge of technology  for a change? 

Personally, I think we'd  all  be far better off communicating like this.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Travelling Light? Greenbelt 2014

Farewell, Amorphous Green Caterpillar?

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Nearly time to rake out the volcano kettle,  solar-powered fairy lights and all those other home comforts  needed for a week at Greenbelt Festival. (Theme this year - Travelling Light.)  So - I'm celebrating the move to a new venue at Boughton House by buying a new des-res. Yes, due to a combination of logistics, changing regulations and my wonky back, I've been forced to say a (temporary?) farewell to the famous Amorphous Green Caterpillar, (pictured above).   From what I can see in the ads, the new Maison  Greenpatch, is smaller on the porch space, roomier in the living area, and has the overall look of Darth Vadar on a good day.  Hardly travelling light. Never mind, the miserly thrifty Franciscan in me is  rather pleased at having paid exactly the same for it as I did for the AGC four years ago. I do love a good sale! 

  Of course, Darth Vadar is blissfully unaware that he's going to be wearing a large green tarp and will be liberally bedecked with twinkly lights and chintzy bunting. I've drawn the line at running up some frilly curtains. A chap has his dignity to maintain, after all. 

To return to this year's festival theme, there's been much much twittering, of the non-twittery kind on social media about some of the seeming drawbacks of what looks to be an idyllic greenfield site. No solid buildings (goodbye warmth, hot water and 'proper' toilets), hello chemical loos for all.  Worse, the prospect of a weekend with limited mobile phone signal and internet coverage. There has been weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth at the thought of not  being constantly 'connected,' and much to-ing and fro-ing between the 'How Can We Possibly Exist?'  and the 'You're all Softies...Why I Remember Back in The Good Old Days,' brigades.  Myself, I'm slightly concerned that I may miss meeting up with some of my usual contacts, but am secretly rather pleased at being on a level footing with everyone else. No tweeting with my old brick of a phone. I'll need to try out some other means of communication. What about semaphore? I knew that spare bunting would come in handy one day.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Journal 52 Week 23: Passion

Hello, I'm back again. Has it really been that long? Yes it has. Oh well, "A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone," as good old Isaac Watts once said. Since I last appeared here I've visited New York, Dorset and the South Coast, with various perambulations round the Home Counties between times. I've also -  together with GP son  - spent 12 hours lurking in a layby in the wilds of Hampshire, but that's another story.

Procrastinator that I am, I've rather too many "Roundtuits," lurking on my To Do List; I'm  rather good at not doing what I should be doing, as opposed to Doing What I Shouldn't Do. That's included my Journal 52 prompts, much dipping in and out here, with the emphasis on the 'out.' Here's Week 23: Passion. What's your passion? What really fires you up? It could be to do with a hobby, friends, family, your work...anything. I thought a long time about this and decided that for me it's Creativity...making connections....that 'spark,' (Divinely inspired?) when an idea takes off into something you'd never anticipated, often   something quite ordinary is  imbued with   a whole new meaning, a new energy. I love it too,  when I can enable   other people to discover this energy for themselves.  Watching somebody growing deeper in their faith , discovering how their story fits into God's is something so special.

If this all sounds a wee bit too airy-fairy, please note that I'm liable to come over all uneccessary and excited about the daftest things, like being able to dry the washing outside in this lovely sunny weather we've been having lately. Or, about Daydreamer's handy domestic hints: she's already saved me £££s in dry cleaning costs. Thanks!

The picture is a work in progress. I've not done any written journaling on it yet, nor will I, probably,  but as I've been blogging I've realised just what I  want  to add for the finishing touch...another of those Divine 'nudges,' do you think?

Friday, 25 April 2014


 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11

St Beunos Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales, one of my favourite retreat places has just brought out a couple of videos. Here's one: The Silence and the Light, (tech gremlins won't let me post the film for some reason) and a second, very helpful meditation on The Examen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cycles of Circles

Good morning. Pausing to look at my stats just now, (pure procrastination here; I should be busy getting the house shipshape for a weekend guest), I noticed - not for the first time -  that my most frequently visited post seems to be 'Going Round in Circles.'Goodness knows why. I'm not flattering myself that every visitor is greedily  drinking in my words of wisdom ; I suspect that a fair proportion of readers are of the bearded men in raincoats clutching tins of pork luncheon meat variety, but I think these last were genuine.  It's quite a thought, though, isn't it ? 'Going round in Circles,' or even...Going Round in Cycles: not unlike my own spiritual state at the moment: Much wandering  hither and thither in a somewhat circuitous and wobbily manner; coming back, setting off again. As Antonia reflects in my last post, it's as if Easter tells us that we're all recycled works of art. I've no idea what the process next holds for me, (though one thing's certain, I'll not be donning lycra and helmet any time now) but it gives me hope.

GP dogs now  taking up the circles theme - time for walkies.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Recycled Art

Belated Easter Greetings to everyone. Here's the latest of my contributions to the Journal 52 project:  Week 16 -  'Recycled Art,' an opportunity to  re-use all those bits and  pieces you have lying around the house to create something...well...let's just say 'different,' in my case.  I've used  an old paper bag, gold foil from our Easter eggs,  magazine pics and designs  and some  flowery material from one of the jars of jam we bought at the weekend's food festival.  The purply starry  bit on the right hand side is from a prompt a few weeks ago that didn't work out.

The result?  Hardly in the Van Gogh league, but never mind, it was fun to do!