Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Come; see the oxen kneel'

O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in pr├Žsepio.
Beata virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
portare Dominum Christum, Alleluia!

O great mystery and wondrous sacrament,
that animals should see the newborn Lord
lying in their manger.
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy
to bear the Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,"

In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so

Thomas Hardy

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter in the garden

I think that the garden is just as pretty in its frosted winter clothing as it is in the summer!

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

- William Shakespeare ('Love's Labour's Lost')

Monday, December 17, 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Haven't blogged much recently - been preoccupied with other things. So I've taken the easy way out and posted some photos!

Christmas at the Garden Centre:

Pots with Todd Crag in the background

Frosted plants

The entry to 'Winter Wonderland'



Here is John Betjeman's take on Christmas preparations:

And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there -
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ? For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards, And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end, of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know -
They'd sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back. Oh dear!
Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd
By which we hail the birth of God.

We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell'd go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
'The time draws near the birth of Christ'.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.

from 'Advent 1955'

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lads in their hundreds....

image: Fairground Heritage Trust

The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair,
There's men from the barn and the forge and the mill and the fold,
The lads for the girls and the lads for the liquor are there,
And there with the rest are the lads that will never be old.

There's chaps from the town and the field and the till and the cart,
And many to count are the stalwart, and many the brave,
And many the handsome of face and the handsome of heart,
And few that will carry their looks or their truth to the grave.

I wish one could know them, I wish there were tokens to tell
The fortunate fellows that now you can never discern;
And then one could talk with them friendly and wish them farewell
And watch them depart on the way that they will not return.

But now you may stare as you like and there's nothing to scan;
And brushing your elbow unguessed-at and not to be told
They carry back bright to the coiner the mintage of man
The lads that will die in their glory and never be old.

from 'A Shropshire Lad' A. E. Housman

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A walk for the Sunday Papers

Off to get the papers -

down the road, past the cottages:

Along the Lane, and across the end of the Green:

Enjoy the plants peeping over the high walls:

Along the road to the newsagent's on the corner:

and into the newsagent's shop to buy the papers:

Back past the Green:

Along the road that slopes down from the Green to our little fell:

Through the gap in the stone walls - a type of stile known as a 'Fat Man's Agony':

Down through Prickly Fell:

Back down the road - admiring the campanulas en route :

Home again - and the pleasing prospect of an afternoon with the Sunday Papers:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Tale of Two Tubs

I bought two packs of runner beans (the labels did not indicate the variety) and planted them - 8 in the larger black tub (left) and 5 in the green tub on the right.
The difference is their growth is remarkable; I think I placed new compost in the black tub and used last year's compost in the green. But I didn't think it would make this much difference!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Compare & Contrast

I came across an old wedding photo the other day and thought that it was interesting to compare it with one from my son's recent wedding:

April 2007

This old photo (below) is the wedding party for the marriage of my husband’s grandparents in London, 1899. Sadly no one thought to write the names of the participants on the back, so we only know the names of the bride and groom (pictured centre left).

Little did they know what lay ahead.

Tragically the bride and groom were both killed, many years later in the second World War: in a particularly heavy bombing raid (16th April, 1941) during the London blitz, the family home was bombed. (My husband’s father was blinded, but husband (then aged 5) and his mother were protected by a wardrobe which tipped over and sheltered them from falling debris.)

The members of the party all look rather severe - probably because of the long exposure time for photography in those days.