A few days ago while on holiday in Scotland we had the opportunity to visit Robert Burns’ final home, a very ordinary house on a side street in Dumfries. As I wandered about the house, now a free museum run by the local Council, and later admired the magnificent mausoleum in which his remains now rest some of my favourite lines of his poetry came into my head:Read More
All Work And No Play.
As you read this during the long, long days of summer, many of us turn our attentions away from the mundane and every day to the excitement and expectation of a summer holiday.Read More
I wonder if you remember Ann Robinson’s quiz programme called “The Weakest Link” in which a series of contestants were asked general knowledge questions with individuals who had failed to answer well or sometimes too well being voted off as “The Weakest Link” to the accompaniment of a snide comment from Mrs Robinson alongside the final remark: “You are the Weakest Link, Goodbye”.Read More
“The Spirit lives to set us free”
The story is told of a strictly teetotal Scottish Presbyterian Minister who was once sent a bottle of cherry brandy by a kind member of the Kirk. The bottle was given on the very strict understanding that the Minister should acknowledge the gift publicly, to which, of course, the Minister assented.Read More
Christ Has Died, Christ Is Risen
As I write this; we are in the middle of yet another Holy Week, preparing to accompany Christ in his passion and death. This year we are making that sombre pilgrimage against the backdrop of the continuing uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union; while our television and other screens are full of the significant damage suffered by Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a devastating fire.Read More
As I sit down to write this, the world is beginning to come to terms with the ramifications and repercussions of yet another mass shooting of innocent civilians.Read More
How Does Your Garden Grow?
As you wander about the gardens, fields and hedgerows during the early months of the year, one cannot fail to be aware of the beautiful bright colours of spring flowers, their fragile tender beauty against the bare harshness of frozen ground damp with dead leaves.Read More
Christmas or Candlemas
A few days ago, just before the middle of January, a visitor to Kington Church asked me, with some hauteur it seemed, why the Christmas Cribs were still up in Church. I imagine that she believed that we’d quite simply forgotten to put them away! In my answer I reminded her that the Church’s celebration of Christmas doesn’t end until the feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple or Candlemas on February 2nd.Read More
“Follow The Star”
I wonder whether you’ve made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? It seems that for a great many people January is largely occupied in deciding not to replicate the mistakes of the past and resolving to lead better lives in the future.Read More
“And The Light Shineth In Darkness”
As I write this, the immediate future of our Country and it’s Government appears to be in some considerable flux as the result of protracted negotiations with the European Union would seem to have resulted in a potential treaty that very few people seem willing to accept.Read More
A few feet from the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London is the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Permanently surrounded by poppies the grave of the Unknown Warrior is the one part of the Abbey floor upon which absolutely nobody at all, not even the Queen or a visiting Head of State, is permitted to walk.Read More
We Shall Remember
Now Thank We All Our God
As you read this the long dry summer days are drawing to a close and the chillier notes of autumn begin to make their presence felt. I always find that whether or not we find ourselves enjoying an Indian Summer September nights are always there to remind us that alongside the equinox the seasons are noticeably changing.Read More
I have always called these musings “A View From The Vicarage”. As a rule, of course, the view being referred to is an opinion. However, on this occasion I want to focus on an actual view or vista which, as I write this, is about to change; and by the time that you read it probably has.
“To give or not to give that is the question” (with apologies to Shakespeare) .
I’m sure that all of you are familiar with John Donne’s famous line: “No man is an island Entire of itself”. But what exactly does it mean and does it have any residual relevance to us living in 21st Century Britain.
“With This Ring”
“Where each asks of each, what each most wants to give, and each awakes in each, what else would never be.”
This wrote the poet Edwin Muir, in words quoted by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie in his forward to the programme for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.Read More
Thank You Are Not The Hardest Words
Elton John put the phrase “sorry seems to be the hardest word” to music, well this is not an “apologia” in either sense of the term; but during April we’re holding our annual Parochial Church Meetings or Easter Vestry’s as they were once known.
“Spring Means Easter, Means Eggs”
Sitting on the bookshelves in the study here is a book called “The Magic Apple Tree” by Susan Hill. It’s the account of the writer’s life in a large country cottage complete with, as you can imagine an old and rather gnarled apple tree in the garden.Read More
One of the words that seems to be dominating the news at the moment is the word “certainty”. In the aftermath of the Referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, it seems that what everybody requires is certainty. A Government that will tell them, I suspect exactly what they want to hear and I further suspect that in many cases the certainty which would be most welcome is of the most depressingly gloomy economic news that can be imagined.Read More
The interesting feature of following a calendar that incorporates both the solar cycle alongside the lunar one is that it will occasionally throw up some intriguing combinations and 2018 is no exception to that rule.Read More