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Thursday 31 May 2018

I've had a really lovely month!

Honestly - I've had a really lovely month.  I decided that May was a month of jam today and jam has come in abundance.

I had a trip to Edinburgh (well just Edinburgh Waverley station) and on that journey I was able to appreciate beautiful scenery and the kindness of others.  

I discovered a new place to go for a day out which is about twenty minutes from home.  There I made friends with a lamb and argued with two ducks for possession of a sandwich.

I continued to appreciate the beauty of the world around me and beauty helped by volunteers.  Kind, wonderful people again.

I went on a photography course and once I save up enough pennies I shall buy a good camera.

I led worship in a dear little church and I've been invited to go back.

I've made some lovely cards whilst spending a delightful morning with like minded crafters.

And all that just scratches the surface of a wonderful month.

And to crown it all I have been offered a week's free accommodation in a delightful barn conversion in Wales.

I am among all women, most richly blessed.

Wednesday 30 May 2018


I love taking my trundle truck into Caistor!  I see people I know and have a chat, people I don't know smile and say hello, and I can call on Auntie Hettie and catch up on the news.  She's totally housebound now but she is still a fount of knowledge on all things local.

It would be easy to think that nothing changes but it does.  Here are some photos to prove it.

Here it is in June last year
This is my favourite bank of flowers.  

Then in March this year

And this week but from the other end. Aquilegias rule OK.
This is the work of volunteers.  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.  You make Caistor a lovely place to live.

Sunday 27 May 2018


All the churches where I take services are in small Lincolnshire villages but few villages are smaller than Croxby.  At the time of the Domesday survey (1086AD) it had a population of 36 but I doubt if it's as big as that today.  It's hard to find as the signpost trail runs out before the village is reached, and even when you find the village it is hard to find the church.

But look carefully and you will see a gap in the cow parsley, a gap in the hedge and through that gap there is a well worn path.  It will take some determination to find it but go up the thirteen uneven steps and you will find the most countrified church I have ever been in.  As I have worked in rural ministry for nearly thirty years that is saying something!

Those thirty six people listed in the Domesday Survey would have worshipped on this same site although nothing from earlier than 1100AD survives.  The church has been much altered over the years but it has been well loved.  The ceiling has been replaced recently but the lovely old font, pews and altar have seen countless generations come to worship God.
Today just six of us gathered (well over the Christian quorum of two or three!) and we used the old fashioned Book of Common Prayer.  

T S Eliot wrote of Little Gidding, Cambridgeshire

If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.

At Croxby I knew just what he meant.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Going for a walk

Going for a walk for me means staggering a hundred yards.  And that's on a good day.

My walking companions

Unless, of course, I take the trundle truck.  The TT means that I can go to lots of places.  The problem is that I don't know until I get there whether or not the TT will be happy.  TT is rather more fussy than two human feet.  It doesn't like mud or overly-steep inclines.  It loathes deep leaves and definitely won't make friends with stiles.  All of which means that although I enjoy my "walks" I usually need someone with me when I explore a new walk.  


Last night TT and I went to a new-to-us walk though Willingham Woods.  (I wrote about Willingham Church here.)  It was a Trefoil Guild walk but just three of us went.  It didn't take us long to find a friend.  Enzo was very happy to be petted and told how gorgeous he is.  

We enjoyed the rhododendrons.  Yes, I know they are highly invasive in woodland but at this time of year they are so pretty.  

We walked for about an hour then found a picnic bench to share the hot drinks one of our number had brought along.  A very pleasant evening out.

Friday 18 May 2018

Third Friday in the month

The third Friday in the month brings something very special - a visit to Mandy aka Dunholme crafter so that's where I've been today. We made four lovely cards,  Here you go!

I think I like the third one best - maybe because it's a bit different from my usual style.  

Sunday 13 May 2018

For Sue

Thinking of you and Col and praying for you.

(Sue has the Blog The Cottage at the end of the lane.  She has shared the story of her husband's illness and sadly he has now died.)

Friday 11 May 2018

Blue period

I'm sure this isn't an original observation but I can't help noticing that nature is in her blue period.  Early in the year flowers are white or yellow (snowdrop, aconite, daffodil) but although there are yellow flowers now (cowslip, dandelion) somehow it's blue which is now centre stage.

Yesterday at Elsham it was speedwell (veronica montana) which caught my eye.  These lovely wild flowers were right next to the pathway.   Each flower is tiny and almost insignificant but en masse they are stunning.


Even more stunning were these bluebells in the lovely dappled sunlight.  I could have looked at this clump for hours!   

I'm not sure what this is - maybe a variety of Nepeta?  (Come on, one of my readers must know?)

But not to leave Caistor out, here's another drift of bluebells, this time in the churchyard.  

Nature may be blue but I'm not.  Who could be amongst all this beauty!

Thursday 10 May 2018

Jam Today

Elsham Hall (only the gardens are open to the public)
We've had several lovely days here in lovely Lincolnshire so after I'd been to Brigg today I decided to visit Elsham Hall Park, a place I've been meaning to visit for quite a while.

I couldn't believe how quiet it was.  I didn't see any other visitors at all!  It's a place which is popular at weekends and probably during school holidays but on a lovely day in May it was deserted.

Only it wasn't.  As I went around I was definitely being watched.  

It started with a lamb.  He definitely saw me as being provided for his personal entertainment.  I was a disappointment.

These two fellows regarded me with disdain.  Who can blame them?  

The donkeys couldn't even be bothered to regard me which is a pity.   I quite like bending a donkey's ears.  They are usually excellent listeners.

I moved on to the bird life.  The peacock was definitely on the showy side but sadly it wasn't me that he wanted to impress.  He'd got his eye on a peahen but she wasn't very interested in him.  

Ah well the ducks were interested.  Interested in my sandwich.  I know my place in the great scheme of things.

All in all I enjoyed my visit to Elsham.  I'll be going back later in the year to see the gardens.  So expect to catch up with my new-found animal friends over the next few months.  

Wednesday 9 May 2018

19th November 1994

19th November 1994 was a very exciting day in my family - it was my father's eightieth birthday and my sister and I threw a surprise party for him.  We had the enthusiastic co-operation of my aunt who lent us her house for the occasion.  All my father's brothers and sisters and mother's brother and sister came, along with their spouses and various cousins and extended family members.  

The party went with a swing and everyone was having a great time but soon after eight o'clock everyone found somewhere to sit and the TV went on.  

The reason?  19th November 1994 was the first National Lottery draw and everyone wanted to see it!

Sadly no-one at the party had a winning ticket.

I can't remember the last time I saw the lottery draw.  Is it still on TV?  I buy a ticket only very occasionally these days.

However, I love to see the way which the lottery has helped so many communities.  In the last village where I lived we got a new village hall, replacing a Second World War army hut.  

Here in Caistor we've got rather an original looking church at the moment.  The outside looks pretty bad but the inside is totally awful.

But I know that in a few months time all will be wonderful

And wonderful can't come soon enough!

Tuesday 8 May 2018

In praise of assistance for disabled people using the railways

The Fat Controller at Market Rasen.  There are lovely wood carvings all around Market Rasen

I had a trip out today - to Edinburgh. tells me that is a round trip of 540 miles by road but I went by rail.   I thought you might like to see the Fat Controller who waved me off at Market Rasen.  

First I travelled on a little cross country train to Newark where I had assistance booked and assistance was there waiting.  A kind lady helped me down from the train and escorted me through the station.  Just as hoped for.

It was at Edinburgh that the service began to get excellent.  A helpful man came on board to help me off and offered to get a wheelchair if I would like.  No, I wouldn't like, just point me in the direction of the first class lounge.  I staggered there slowly and had a cup of coffee and a little something.  When I emerged the lovely assistant was waiting and again he offered a wheelchair.  This time I accepted gratefully.  What I appreciated was the fact that he offered but was quite willing for me to refuse.  He just wanted me to be comfortable.  I've never accepted a wheelchair ride before - I can be quite fiercely independent - but this thoughtful man gave the impression that, it wasn't just his job to offer help, it was his privilege and his pleasure to make my journey pleasurable.  Thank you, kind sir.

For various reasons my train back to Newark was delayed and I was worried that I would miss my connection back to Market Rasen and would have to wait three hours for the next one.  However the staff at Newark were brilliant!  They knew they had to transfer a person with disabilities to the Rasen train so they kept it back.  The train staff and the station staff all helped with a really quick and easy transfer, keeping me laughing all the way so once again I didn't feel that I was a problem.

Thank you, one and all.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day.'

I agree with Alice.  I disapprove of the White Queen's rule.  Jam days are part of healthy living.  It must come sometime to "jam today".

Maybe I just need to realise that there is jam every day: I need to recognise it.  Maybe I do - my simple pleasures are jam.  I've never quite worked out what mindfulness is - is it just appreciating the jam? 

This month I have quite a few jam days planned.  I've got a special rail journey booked and I think I've got a photography course booked.  I say I think I've got it booked because it's 19th May but unless there are a few more bookings it will be cancelled as not viable.  If the weather is good I've got plans to make my first visit this year to a few gardens.  Even if the weather is horrid I've got at least one indoor trip.  I'm going card-making and I've got some sewing lined up.

Here's hoping that you too have jam in May.