Thursday, 29 December 2011

When the wind blows...

Frankie was playing with her monster dolls in the bay windows of the living room yesterday when she spotted, through the stormy gloom, that the trampoline was lifting off the ground by about two feet (how she knows imperial measurements at age ten I'm not sure...)

It was a rather stormy evening, so Mary and I rushed out into the night to discover that the large (16 feet) diameter trampoline had pulled free of its anchors and was starting to make a bid for freedom towards the sea. We wrestled it down, lashed new ropes to the still ground-bound anchors, tied a spare boat mooring rope from the frame to a cherry tree, stripped down the safety net and battened down our metaphorical hatches.

This morning, a little askew and looking slightly odd with a 3/4 inch rope sagging between it and the tree, it still safely there.

A lucky thing that Frankie spotted the beginning of the trouble brewing, otherwise it would probably now be about level with Stornoway, heading towards Iceland.

The church is still there too...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

This Christmas...

...will be my second one as the Episcopalian priest in Bute and Cowal (or Cowal and Bute depending on your perspective). It has been a full year - packed with more than I thought one could pack in.

The slight disappointment that there are no ferries to Bute on Christmas Day remains with me: I am unable to share the feast with my church-folk on the island. They now have a tradition of a carols and readings service on that day, which I am sure will be a wonderful time of worship. But I would like to be spending it with them. It was good to share the Christmas quiz with members and friends last week. It will be good to share worship with them tomorrow (St Thomas, tweaked by a day).

Christmas in Dunoon is falling into what seems to be usual pattern, but with some rather significant differences. We will be using a new thurible at midnight mass, and sadly the donor will not be able to swing it himself due to family commitments. But a new thurible will be a pleasure to use, as our prayers rise like incense... And the church in Dunoon is different to last Christmas.

There is the most enormous Christmas tree in the church - getting on for twenty feet high!

The east end windows have started to be treated to prevent damp damage. The chancel arch has been stripped of peeling paint and only leaks water when it's very rainy outside. The tower is still soggy, but we getting a better understanding of why. And all these fabric things are not weighing down the REAL church in Dunoon: the enthusiastic and positive people who make up the lively worshipping community at Holy Trinity.

Oh - and we got a lottery and Historic Scotland grant for nearly £250,000 to fix all that lot. That should help...

Monday, 12 December 2011

Skeletal trees

Winter has stripped the leaves from the lime trees that surround the house, up on this hill, above the West Bay.

We can see other houses, and the sea (a bit better) - it all feels a bit less green-wrapped - it can almost feel a little claustrophobic in summertime, especially when the wind through the lime trees dominates the senses.

Winter stripping away the leaves, the cushioning barrier. Advent (thinking about John the Baptist last week) stripping away an old way of being.

The metaphor of our spiritual life and the seasonal shifts, here in an alien (to our Lord) northern Europe.

Works for me.