stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Status report

Its going to be a bit quiet around here for the next couple of weeks, well it has been already!

We have some visitors staying, and I just dont seem to have the computer time I used to. Images are a bit limited because I am doing this on my laptop which has none of my images loaded (try to keep it clean for swift start up etc) but here are the pebbles in St Columba's Bay on Iona.

I will be blog reading in spare moments, so hope to keep up with everyone else's news. So TTFN as we Brits used to say.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"All good gifts around us...."

...goes a traditional of hymn that is sung at the celebrations of Harvest Festivals in most village churches at this time of year.

A brief photo diary of an autumn weekend (descriptions under the images)

Saturday : a bellringing outing, which meant leaving home early enough to see the sun rising over the hills of home.

We were ringing bells on Dartmoor, and the first stop is Widecombe-in-the-moor. In the summer, crowded with tourists, but today it was quiet and peaceful.

You can stand in the churchyard and see the a tor (Haytor I think) outcropping on the skyline.

This was taken in another Dartmoor village - Lustleigh. Nice light bells with a lovely sound. You felt like you had stepped back in time as the village was hardly touched by this century, nestled in the side of a valley.

On to Dunsford, where their Harvest Festival service was the next day. The sheaf of oats stood proudly at the door.

Opposite the sheaf in the porch, a colourful medley of veg sat on the bench seat.

The flower ladies had skill and I loved the way the ivy twined naturally around the pillars and linked the flowers over the stone arch. We had a chat - in between ringing - to the ladies who were putting the finishing touches to their creations all over the church. They said that there are no younger people coming behind them to learn all this, and as they get older and die off, the art and expertise will be lost in this church.

The next day, Sunday, Youngest Daughter and I planned to make the most of the good weather and climb Golden Cap (in the background above) the highest cliff on the Dorset coast. Much to our surprise the Man Of The House accompanied us. We bought crab sandwiches at Burton Bradstock ("possibly the best crab sandwiches in the world") and took them with us to eat on the summit.

When we reached the top, it was getting misty (and quite autumnal) in the late afternoon and the views along the coast towards Devon were hazy (the direction that I had been the day before). We had climbed 200 metres nearly straight up. I needed to turn back and look at the view quite often (and catching my breath was purely coincidental, you understand!)

A convenient gate to lean on, and admire the view out to sea.

Blackberries are always welcome snacks along the way, but these were taking their time ripening.Youngest Daughter leads the way, what a relief to being going downhill now.

I have an idea that these are definitely NOT edible, but a wonderfully twined garland.

That evening it was the Harvest Home in our own village and these two baskets had been brought along (by the same person) to decorate not the church but........

...the village hall ! Its such a change from the formal service in a cold church, this must be more like the celebrations of old times - meeting friends and neighbours around a table, offering some prayers of thanks for a good harvest and also for a good lifestyle of plenty when many around the world have so little. I think more people turn up when its not in church. We ate a simple "ploughman's lunch" of bread, cheese and pickle and had an auction of garden produce (inflated prices of course, as the proceeds went to a charity to buy a cow for a third world family, and to send boxes of food to Eastern Europe where times are hard.

The trees are turning colour more now, and there are hints of golds and yellows, but the only reds around the house are the Virginia Creeper that looks so good against the flint. I am standing outside the patio door looking up at the gutter!

And the very last sweet pea is red too, and I just had to catch the droplets of rain.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Change of season

It happens all of a sudden - autumn sneaks in with a night that is bright and chilly. And in the morning, I drive to work along the wide river valley, accompanied by layers and swirls of mist where landscape should be.

My birthday tree peony has had some suede seedpods, sitting fat and content all summer where the lovely pink petals were. A hint of a frosty harvest moon night and WHAM! It happens all of a sudden - they had burst open in the night to reveal fat rows of large black seeds. I raced to gather them, (and forgot to capture the moment with the camera.) Only the empty aftermath. Then I discovered that the seeds have to stay dormant for two chilly winters - one to grow only roots, and the next to grow leaves. And then you probably have to wait seven years for any flowers!

This year, I think, wont be a sensational autumn for colour (like Cate shows us) The leaves are turning a dirty brown and dropping off sulkily, like sullen teenagers. I would like to be proved wrong. Cate wrote such perfect words .

A few splashes of burgundy is all the colour left in the garden, but a warm late afternoon sun let me sit and soak up the last of the heat of summer - but the chill of winter is lurking in every shadow.