Walking through the English countryside at this time of year, there is an abundance of food growing. I’m a city girl, but I’ve spent time on farms, helping to milk and herd cows. I know where our food comes from before it hits the supermarket shelves. I just didn’t realise how much was, well, here.

Wheat field

As well as wheat, we also saw a field of barley and lots of fields of rapeseed. There were quite a few fields with cows, as well as sheep and occasionally horses as well.

Harrington House August 2009 146
It was on the last day that we came across an unusual site – a field of cabbages. We could smell them before we saw them. Unfortunately, many were gone bad, or rotting or had flowers growing out of them.
There were ordinary cabbages, cauliflowers, red cabbages and corriander.
Harrington House August 2009 066
Now for the uncultivated food.
We saw lots of blackberries – so many that seeing them became normal and I didn’t take any photos of them. From my previous post, you can see that we saw lots of sloes and crab apples.
Throughout the week we also saw walnuts, damsons, plums, chestnuts (pictured) and mulberries.

Walking in the countryside part 1

Sunday 9 August 2009

As part of my summer holiday this year, I wanted to do something different. So, I’m on a walking holiday. We’re based in a hotel and every day there are a choice of four walks: short easier, easier, medium and harder. I chose the easier walk today, which was just right to get me used to walking again. I was blessed to be walking with some very experienced and knowledgable people, and I learnt a lot about the local area, words and trees. Here are some highlights:

St. James', Clapton-on-the-Hill


This is St. James’, the Church in Clapton-on-the-Hill. The village is small (about 90 residents) but very beautiful.




The horseshoe gate





We noticed the gate leading into the churchyard was made of horseshoes.


RowanThose I was walking with were particularly interested in the trees and fruit trees that we passed. I think they all make their own jam, go blackberry picking and so on. As we walked along, I decided to photograph the plants as they talked about them, so I could remember what they looked like.

The picture to the left is a rowan tree, complete with berries.

Crab applesThese are crab apples. Apparently there is some folk lore associated with these. If you have the pips and are sitting infront of a fire with your sweetheart, throw the pip into the fire. The result will tell you how passionate your relationship is.

We saw lots of these today, but I don’t think they are ripe yet.

sloesThese are sloes. According to my guides, these look ripe, but are not yet. They are apparently quite tart in taste. The best use of them is to make sloe gin, which a friend of mine does, and it tastes really good.


As well as these, we saw damsons, blackberries, plums and tomatoes. We also looked at trees and their leaves, which I will leave for another post.

Here is the Windrush river…

Windrush river

Stories on BBC News

Monday 3 August 2009

Last night, I watched the BBC News at 10pm on BBC1. I saw a link between two of the stories mid-way through the programme.

First up, the story of Archbishop Vincent ‘critising Facebook’. According to the report, he didn’t really, he just commented that the internet and social networking  can lead to isolation and unhealthy relationships, especially when used to extremes.

The next news story was the mother of a girl who has apparently run away with someone she met on the internet appealing for her to get in touch

Both were brief – they weren’t really the major news stories of the day, but important and meriting a moment in a new bullitin.

It was the order of the stories that struck me. It seemed like the order was offering evidence to back up the Archbishop’s comments on the possible negative imact of the internet. I can’t imagine that this was intentional, especially as the tone on piece about the Archbishop seemed unconvicened.

It stuck me as being quite amusing that the programme producer (or whoever it is who makes these decisions) thought the order of stories was suitable.

The waters of Mars

Thursday 30 July 2009

The trailer for the next episode of Doctor Who is ready for viewing at here.

In the meantime, here is the Catherine Tate and David Tennant Comic Relief sketch from a couple of years ago. Brilliant!


Tuesday 19 May 2009

So these are the answers that came to the questions I posed.

What is your role among people (perhaps in your work, family, friendship group)?
I think my role is to call to others, to know the rythm, to be still and to know.

What gift do you bring to share in that group that no one else does?
I bring prayer connected with reading and listening. I also bring experiences of the life I’ve lived, which is different from most of the people around me.

What gift do you value in others that is shared in that particular group?
I really value the gift of fun – of being able to find the fun in almost any situation and share that fun  with others. I tend to be a little more serious, so I really appreciate people who draw me to have fun. Also, the gift of caring and those blessed with the desire to grow, share and journey with others.

What gifts and graces would you like to ask God to bless your group with?
I ask God for the gift of openness to each other – a willingness to listen and to serve. Not to be closed.


Thursday 7 May 2009

I led an all night prayer vigil recently and these questions came to me during it. I will probably post my own answers here at a later date, but for your consideration here are the questions:

  1. What is your role among people (perhaps in your work, family, friendship group)?
  2. What gift do you bring to share in that group that no one else does?
  3. What gift do you value in others that is shared in that particular group?
  4. What gifts and graces would you like to ask God to bless your group with?

I came across this on Happy Catholic and I just couldn’t resist. Here goes:

1. Most treasured childhood book (s)?
A tale of time city by Diana Wynne Jones,

2. Classic(s) you are embarrassed to admit you’ve never read?
Not really embarrassed to admit I haven’t read a book. I do sometimes think I should have read some Proust or Tolstoy by now.

3. Classics you read, but hated?
Great expectations – any Charles Dickens really. I find the descriptions of EVERYTHING a little too much.

4. Favourite genres?
Fantasy, Sci-fi and childrens

5. Favourite light reading?
Almost anything by Anne McCaffrey or Maeve Binchy

6. Favourite heavy reading?
I’m not sure what heavy reading is, but these were certainly challenging reading, at least the first time: Thomas Merton‘s New Seeds of Contemplation, Jane Austin

7. Last book(s) you finished?
New read: Just Henry by Michelle Magorian, Reread: Pegasus in flight by Anne McCaffrey

8. Last book you bailed on?
Theology of the Body by Christopher West – just because I had too much going on at the time to pay proper attention. It’s still in my ‘to read’ pile.

9. Three books on your nightstand?
Follow your dream by Peter Hannan, The inner voice of love by Henri Nouwen and Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

10. Books you’ve read more than once?
I reread books all the time, but some favourites… Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Persuasion & Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton.

11. The books that meant the most to you when you were young?
The Chalet School Series by Eleanor M Brent-Dyer, The Lord of the Rings, Tim & Tobias books and the Buccanear (?) books by Sheila McCullagh.

12. Book(s) that changed the way you looked at life?
Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton, the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, The Chalet School Series, The Lord of the Rings, Evening Class by Maeve Binchy, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, The Johnny Series by Terry Pratchett

13. Favorite books
See previous question – the books that teach me something new and reach conclusions usually become favourites.

14. Favorite author(s)
Diana Wynne Jones, Thomas Merton, Michelle Magorian

15. Desert Island book
All of them? Probably Lord of the Rings as it would be long enough (with all the appendices) to keep me going for a while.

I think this has turned into a list of my favourite authors.

Lent – the journey

Monday 23 February 2009

Lent is about a personal journey, but not a private one; Lent is about the choices each one of us makes, but not selfishly…

…We will be wise to  allow our own Lenten choices to be judged by this criterion: will this way open me to that love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that alone enables us to live as one body of Christ…

…Love for all demands that this Lent is not private, but public, not selfish but self-giving.

from Living Lent within the Body of Christ by Archbishop Patrick Kelly in this week’s Catholic Herald.

What I learnt today (or yesterday)

Sunday 22 February 2009

  • WALL-E captured my imagination completly when I watched it today – just through the animation and the words ‘WALL-E’ and ‘EVE’. Amazing.

You’re great

Saturday 21 February 2009

Have seen this in so many places. Love it.

Maybe we should have a National Validation Day:-)