Friday, 31 July 2015

Breaking the silence

Going off on a virtual roadtrip is one thing, disappearing off into the ether is quite another! Life offline has been busy;  holiday, a saga of lost keys, DIY gripper-rod removal (not the best project to start on arrival home after a ten hour train journey) and I don't know what else. I've been shamed into cranking up this blog again by reading of The Love That Moves The Sun's resolution to post more regularly. Probably regularly with a small r in my case. 

So, why  these photos (above)? There is a connection with what comes next, I promise, in  typical Greenpatch wandering mode of course. These last few days I've been musing on this series of meditations by Pray as You Go , based round some of the  works of Gerard Manley Hopkins and I've been really encouraged to learn more about the joys and struggles of his faith journey. I first came across his poetry at a very very young age indeed. I must have only been around eight years old when we were introduced to his Pied Beauty. Can't say I was hugely impressed to begin with. (Maybe this had to do with not only having to learn it by heart - if you're familiar with the rhythms and cadences of GMH this is no mean feat, but being required to write it down from memory as well - punctuation and all!). However, something must have lingered, once the element of compulsion was removed. GMH has come back into my orbit in a small but significant way during the last five years or so. Later in the year, God willing, I'm fortunate enough to have an extended  opportunity to focus on where I'm going on my journey and in a place where the the inspiration and memory of Hopkins is very close indeed. And no, I won't be blogging it, good resolutions notwithstanding.

I'll leave you, not with the latest PAYG offering,  (we're sitting  with his 'gloomy' poems at present),  but another classic  GMH which has been in and out of my thoughts lately -  God's Grandeur. 

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.

  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;

  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went

  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Hazards of an over-fertile Imagination

Image courtesy of Idea go at

Is it just me whose imagination goes walkabout at the most inconvenient times? Like the Ascension Day service, for instance, as we were busy All Hail (ing) the Power of Jesus' Name, Let Angels prostrate fall...I'd visions of said angelic beings toppling over like a line of dominos.  It could have been worse, I suppose.

Does anybody else suffer from an over-active imagination?

Monday, 11 May 2015


It's all over sunflowers on the A-Z Challenge Blog. If I thought that I was due a breather after all my hard work - I was wrong. We've been told to look out for the launch, later this week of the A-Z Road Trip. Cue ancient picture of Mr GP charging round the wilds of Wales. Shall I? Shan't I? That is the question. 

To other matters: Either my feed is being attacked by gremlins, or relatively few folk on my listings have been blogging these last few days. Maybe (for those in the UK at least), we're all suffering from Post Election fatigue.  It's been an 'interesting,'   and I use the word advisedly,   time.  If  the various feedback, discussions and analysis is to be believed, I am not a little apprehensive about what the next few years will hold, especially for  those who are already struggling: the elderly, sick, disabled, unfortunate....maybe it's my Franciscan streak coming out here - the need to stand up for the underdog. 

We'll see...

Thursday, 7 May 2015

A-Z Challenge Reflections

So, Spring has Sprung, the grass is 'riz, especially in my part of the UK where the traditional April showers have decided to wait until May. The A-Z, my first one, is finished. What can I say? I did it! What did I learn? That organisation and inspiration can co-exist happily together. That's quite a lesson for this INFP serial procrastinator. Knowing that I was off on holiday on the very last day of the challenge forced me to be organised and use the pre-schedule feature (all my posts were written the evening before). I surprised myself at how disciplined I was about keeping to plan, even if some of my blogs were written very late indeed!

Serendipity played a large part in my challenge. I'd started with no particular theme in mind. Maybe using one might have resulted in better quality of writing, however, this being my first attempt, I thought it best to keep to a simple pot-pourri. It worked beautifully and I'd great fun linking a piece of music to the topic. OK, some were a teensy bit far-fetched, certainly but it made blogging far more fun.

Could do better.... Next time round I'll need to try and engage more with other A-Z ers. I visited some lovely blogs and have met some great bloggers but I found it quite exhausting on top of writing my own. More organisation needed on my part, I think. Thanks, though, to everyone who commented or joined the site, especially Betty who posted words of encouragement nearly every day. Thank you again, you kept me going!

I said at the beginning that I hoped that taking part in the challenge would help me rediscover  my blogging mojo. Whilst it's not quite back on full force, it's certainly on its way.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A-Z Day 30: Zoo

We made it! A month's worth of bloggery. So, for our last blog, let's visit the land of hairy baboons, plodding elephants, sleeping lions and exotic birds. Yes - we're Going to the Zoo!

Talking of hairy baboons, I've come across a wonderful tribute to the late, great Windsor Safari Park, now Legoland. I'm sure many UK bloggers will have happy memories of days out spent there. Mostly of said baboons, who, when we were visiting, were certainly not as pictured, quietly reading a book. Reading? No! Boring! Why read when there are thousands of windscreen wipers there for the taking? We have the evidence - in writing, that one of the first phrases Ms GP learnt to say was "'Boons climin over Daddi's car!!" Better than tigers making a snack out of your tyres, I guess. But it was fun, and we were almost disappointed on our last visit,  to discover that the powers that be had banned cars and we were escorted through on a safari train instead. Happy days.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A-Z Day 29: Yellow

Image courtesy of "patptichaya," at

Y is for: Yo-yo,  yacht , Yolanda  and yellow. Yellow is the colour of buttercups, sunflowers, daffodils, sunshine and  pancakes. And what could be nicer than a plateful of golden pancakes with banana topping. Yes, you're in for another trip down memory lane, this time to Australia, whence originated the original Bananas in Pyjamas song that I remember singing to the Junior Greenpatches. And...oh dear....I do wish I'd not remembered these; from the 1970s, comes the stuff of nightmares (and people worry about some of today's children's programming - come back Teletubbies, all is forgiven!). Yes, it's the Banana Splits. Time to don your sunglasses. All together now....

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A-Z Day 28: Xanadu

No pictures today. You've quite enough to put up with as it is.  I gather that Coleridge wrote Kubla Khan whilst under the influence of something - and we're not referring to one too many late-night cheese on toast snacks, either.

Kubla Khan
Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
   Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
   The shadow of the dome of pleasure
   Floated midway on the waves;
   Where was heard the mingled measure
   From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
   A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

As for theme-related music....well....enough said!