Thursday, 24 March 2011

our day out

We are on holiday in the Lake District for the first time since we moved away more than seven years ago. It has given us the opportunity to visit a friend, who has a gift of healing, who I met fifteen years ago when she was one of the speakers at a day's teach-in on Contemplative Prayer/ Christian Meditation. But more of her on a future blog.
Today after our earlier appointment, we made use of the longer day and having decided to walk up Muncaster Fell, we ordered packed lunches at the guest house in which we are staying.
The weather was glorious; the sun was out and there was a cloudless blue sky with a haze in the distance and it was difficult to realise that it was still March.
The first part of our walk was up a long straight bridle path, where we saw a buzzard and then a goshawk (or was it a Marsh Harrier?) flying quite low.  The path then curved around a tarn where we stopped to take on extra fuel; a flapjack for me and a sandwich for him. As we sat just a foot away from the edge of the tarn we noticed frogs under the water, sunbathing on the bottom. At the far side were mallards with their brilliant green iridescent heads and although it looked peaceful the silence was broken by geese which made such a racket; we assumed there was some squabbling among the males as to which was going to get the female!
We continued on our walk to the trig point where we tried to name the tops of all the fells to our right while noticing Sellafield on the shoreline to our left!
We found a sheltered spot to eat the remainder of our lunches and enjoyed a musical entertainment from a skylark - beautiful!
We then treked on a little further as he wanted to see a Victorian table that he had read about. It looks like something from Stonehenge but was built for some Gentleman's picnic! It was difficult getting there as we could see no footpath and then we were confronted by a bog, which we crossed by stepping onto the Grandma Giles shaped tufts of dried grass, and taking a different path back we had to cross a narrower but deeper bog by leaping from stone to stone - great fun and our feet were still dry when we got back.

Friday, 11 March 2011

women in leadership

For many years I was a member of 'Men Women and God'(MWG); the British equivalent of 'Christians for Biblical Equality', and so was aware of the many books written on the 'difficult' passages in the Bible. I attended some good MWG conferences with excellent speakers including I. Howard Marshall and was on their planning committee until my call to minister here in Wales.
So I was interested to read a recommendation on a friend's blog of, 'How I changed my mind about Women in Leadership - Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals', where I. Howard Marshall is one of the twenty-one contributors.
And then on Wednesday morning there was an excellent interview on radio 4's Today with one of the clergy who is in the process during Lent to 'walk' from the Anglican Church to the Catholic Church because he believes that women should not become bishops. The interviewer, who I think was Justin Webb, questioned the Vicar as to whether what he was doing was right as Jesus preached love (or words to that effect) and I cheered from the shower!
Of the personal stories I have read so far in the book, many contributors came to a point in their lives where they realised that they had to go to scripture to see what it actually said rather than listening to what others said about the role of women! Whereas, I. Howard Marshall said; "my experience of working with godly women in ministry, teaching, and leadership has been ample confirmation that to exclude them from these roles is indefensible".  Women need men like I. Howard Marshall so that we can become the people God called us to be!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I was never into books as a child; life was far more exciting - climbing trees and playing cowboys and indians in the woodland at the bottom of our road with the two boys who lived a few houses away from mine!
And so it wasn't until I was in my thirties that I started reading books, especially non-fiction when I trained to be a counsellor. But I was also encouraged to read novels by one of our lodgers. I think I jumped in at the deep end by starting with John Fowles' 'The Magus'!
When I felt called to the ministry I started devouring books and so my collection of books grew to a wall full and that was just in my study! There were full bookcases all over our house.
When we were preparing for our move to Wales, we thought we would be down-sizing and took many books to a second-hand book shop in Brighton, who bought many of them because they had beautiful covers - it didn't seem to matter what was on the inside! What we didn't sell we took to the local charity book shop and the theological ones - several boxes full, went to the church we were leaving.
Having been in Wales a couple of years we found a house just as large and having been called to be minister, the bookcases have been filled once again! But I was aware that my breadth of reading was not very wide and to encourage myself, and meet and get to know more folk in the village, I joined the book club.
Yesterday we discussed our latest read of 'Shutter Island', which has been made into a film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio which some of our group had also seen this week on TV. Apparently, if you have not read the book the film is difficult to follow, but it is quite true to the original story.
We had an interesting discussion about mental health, especially as one of our group had worked in a psychiatric hospital. 
Our next read is 'The Clan of the Cave Bear', which some of the group read many years ago but seems to be one of those books that can be re-read. 
We are having a holiday shortly so that will be my holiday read!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


We talk about milestone birthdays and think of 18, 30,40, 50 etc. but for me other birthdays have been important. I'm old enough to have had a 21st celebration, before 18 was the coming of age. But 35 hit me hard - I had had half of my three score years and ten which felt quite scary! But this year it is worse!
I was 20, when 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was released, working for C&As in their head office in Oxford Street and wearing very short skirts! it was the age of the mini-skirt and in '67 they were still getting shorter!
And so as I approached my birthday this year the words of one of the tracks kept going around my head. And yes, he is very handy mending a fuse and I often sit by the fireside knitting a sweater or two. We don't go to the Isle of Wight for our holidays, but I can be found with grandchildren on my knee. And if you are very confused you can look up the lyrics of 'When I'm 64'!
At twenty, sixty-four seemed very old, but now I have got here it is so different. I still feel twenty-five inside and when I'm with certain friends I can behave much younger. But I do like to remember my age, so at fifty I stopped wearing knee length skirts and at sixty, stopped wearing jeans. However, this does make buying suitable clothes quite difficult as I still like to look my best and not old and dowdy. 
If fashion trends go the way they should, with the lack of money in people's purses, skirt lengths should drop and I will be happy!