Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Queen's Wood ancient woodland - situated across the road from Highgate Wood on the other side of Muswell Hill Road in north London. I used to think it was a spooky little wood as had read somewhere that it was burial site for people who had died in Great Plague. Today in the sunshine it was enchanting and cool.
I dedicate this post to Hope - my little grand-daughter who came into the world at 3.15pm on July 26th 2008. May she love these woods as she grows, the future is hers.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
A garden of great tranquility and peace, planted with all the traditional English garden flowers. Butterflies (seemingly scarce this year) and bees were in profusion. An the very heart of the garden was an open well, just covered by a metal grid.
On this day, the anniversary of my father's death, I reflected awhile on other lost friends - Chris, who taught me the meaning of unconditional love; and Michael who showed me the true meaning of integrity - both dear, much missed friends. I found myself thinking of these words from a song by Beth Nielson Chapman.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
The second youngest of fourteen children, my father did what a lot of young men did in the 1930s, he joined the army and became a Royal Engineer. He was already a serving soldier when World War II broke out and spent the last three years of the war as a PoW. Thankfully he came home to my mother who had married him after a whirlwind romance in 1942 and who waited faithfully for his return.
My father was a self-taught man, an avid reader who passed his love of books and poetry onto me. He used to walk around the house quoting lines from his favourite poems out loud "I wandered lonely as a cloud" was one he was fond of reciting.
This is one of his favourites.
An angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
'What writest thou?' The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, 'The names of those who love the Lord'.
'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay not so',
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, 'I pray thee, then,
Write me as one who loves his fellow men,'
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names who love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led of all the the rest.
(Leigh Hunt: 1784 - 1859)
I am very happy that my eldest son chose to name his first child Samuel.
Monday, 14 July 2008
Yesterday, while out with a walking group in Oxfordshire I saw, for the first time, red kites gliding overhead. They are astonishingly beautiful birds in flight with their fan-like wing span and forked tail feathers (see http://redkites.co.uk/) yet this blog is named after two of the smallest of the bird population. A recent discussion about how to eradicate slugs and snails from gardens led me to reflect awhile on some of the small creatures that are usually considered as pests.
Whilst tidying up my garden today, I spotted this quite small snail in the honeysuckle. Instead of recoiling into its shell when I touched it, its head and antenna came out and it seemed almost to be aware of me. I lifted it gently onto a flat surface and stooped to watch its progress. Quite fascinating - my little walled garden is full snails and, somewhat less absorbing, slugs. I have long since given up trying to remove them (a futile task unless you are prepared to use a chemical deterrent) and now just try to avoid stepping on them.
To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all
Within that house secure he hides
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
Give but his his horns the slightest touch
His self-collecting power is such
He shrinks into his house with much
Wherein he dwells, he dwells alone
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
Thus hermit-like, his life he leads
Nor partner of his banquet needs
And if he meets one only feeds
Who seeks him must be worse than blind
(He and his house are so combined)
If, finding it, he fails to find
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Friday, 4 July 2008
The Grail is a lamp of light, life, and love that brings solace only when someone is willing to serve. When we align our heart with need and honour, the heart becomes itself becomes lamp at which light is kindled. When the heart is alight with service, the flame can pass freely from heart to heart. [Taken from Celtic Spirit by Caitlin Matthews]This post is for the people of of the Avebury Forum.
Thursday, 3 July 2008
This beautiful, fairly modern stained glass window can be seen in the little church of St Mary the Virgin at Bishopstone. It depicts scenes from the Wiltshire countryside; sheep, a badger, wheat and poppies in the first panel. In the middle panel the village of Bishopstone and the purple orchids which can be found on the downs are depicted. The third panel shows more wild flowers, a pheasant and I think Silbury Hill is there too.