Saturday, 30 April 2011

The camino bore

It's just a year since we set off in the morning fog from Roncesvalles, heading for Zubiri that day. Little did we know..... but we are nostalgic and would set off tomorrow if we could. After all the preparation, it suddenly seemed easy; all we had to do was walk, and we set off on the path knowing just how to do it. I suggest you don't scroll down any further if you are a vegetarian. There is likely to be more on this subject for the whole month of May. Sorry to be a bore...

Friday, 29 April 2011

Republican ride.

Gosh, what an auspicious day! A year ago we were driving down through France to Roncesvalles for the start of the camino. Here you can see the Humber mud from the bridge at the start of our day's republican ride. We took bike route 1 across to and through Hull, and joined route 65 which took us along an abandoned, Beeching-ed railway track to Hornsea and the end of the TransPennine Trail. A round trip of 51 miles, and thanks to my bike computer was able to see that my top speed when pedalling down the slope of the bridge towards Barton at the end of the ride with a following wind was 30 mph. I was not displeased, and will try again with my jacket zipped up next time, as I think this slowed me down a bit.
Just Like The Camino!

No comment!

It's not Santiago, is it?

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Garden: and can it be....?

 Love this! Stripey tulips, such a well-groomed kind of plant that seems (when in a vase) to get into a party mood and lollop all over the place in a drunken manner. But I spy! What is that thing to the left? A geum urbanum? T'owd man'll go nuts, he's been eradicating them constantly. What a pity - such a perfect pic; rather like taking a pic of someone chewing, by accident.
And this? We can't remember what it is, only that it is some kind of species viburnum, a guelder rose or a wayfaring tree, we THINK. Lovely in our 'woodland edge'.
And can it be... a mulberry? We've had this little bush for years, starting in a tub for 5 years, and then in the back lawn for 6 years, but never a fruit. We had a look at an ancient known fruiting mulberry to see what the young fruits look like, and THINK we might here have a fruit..... we shall see.

I hate laburnum

I hate laburnum! Detest it! Look at that nasty cold yellow, just like a field of rape! And the new bit (only Norman) on St. Peter's church ( ) striving to be seen above it. And before long, those of you who like the bright colour of that tangle of weeds will see that it has been just a brief and garish prelude to a drab dark green mess. I have a feeling that the laburnum tree was promoted in garden centres around 30 or 40 years ago, and I usually don't like ANY plant that has been heavily promoted in garden centres. Fortunately this THING (actually it is several THINGS) is not in my garden, but in the 'Old Vicarage' garden opposite; we DID have one, a monstrosity with 5 trunks in the front garden and had to get planning permission to remove it. It was good to see it gone, and has been replaced by a medlar, a much more noble tree. I know, I know - some people like laburnum. If you do, tell me if you still like it next month.

The garden (1)

 I'm rather pleased with the 'woodland edge' above. It's a mix of various native wild things, including hollies that were sky-rocketting, but were cut down to stumps as low as 18", which then sprout again and can be topiarised. There's also a damson and a crab apple, and they have already been used for jelly.

To the left is the bird area. This is the view from the kitchen sink, and is expressly designed to be suitable for birds, with lots of cover.

Here is the Portuguese quince, which was moved from an earlier position under a sycamore tree where it was not happy. Now it is in full sun near the walnut tree, and has rewarded us with a lovely display of flowers and the best leaves ever. We have high hopes of quince jelly in the autumn.

Bringing home the bacon

The kitchen is being stretched somewhat, and no wonder it's hard to make it meet our requirements, though we are working on rearranging all the time. (How I'd love an old-fashioned vicarage, not for some grand living rooms; I crave sculleries, outhouses and pantries.) David has just bought a slicer, as he has started to cure his own bacon. The pig arrives next week. The slicer is his birthday present to himself, and is as above and to be found at:

The bacon is in progress and will be ready next Wednesday.  It is a bog-standard 'dry cure', and I'm sure in future there will be some weirder creations.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

You're never too old to....

It happened that a couple of summers ago I was gliding in wobbly middle-aged-learner fashion across some part of Poole harbour on my board, when I passed close by a Heathcliffe lookalike instructing a group of new young windsurfers. Looking at me and then back to his charges, he encouraged them with 'See - you're never too old to windsurf!' Added to the 'I-wish-I-had-a-granny-like-you' comment I got the previous summer when I wobble-glided across a Bournemouth park on a skateboard, I'm looking at: 
But Don here was windsurfing on the lake in Barton-on-Humber today, and he's 87; so you're never to old to.........

Monday, 25 April 2011

Lifecycle of a hat/ 'That damned hat'

Periwinkle, green alkanet, bluebells, centaurea montana, eucalyptus foliage. I think it got a good reception (I do at least put the effort in), especially by one of the cathedral staff who has known D and me since our student days. 'Oh it's YOU under that damned hat!' he said. Keep it coming!
10.00 a.m.
1 p.m.
11.30 p.m.

Takeover bid on cathedral/ from bluebells to wisteria

Wonderful day! Our choir sang evensong in Lincoln cathedral to celebrate Fr Alan Wright's 40 years as choir master, and I don't think that anyone attending cathedral evensong expecting the usual choir could have been disappointed. The closing organ voluntary was composed by our organist Geoff Brown, who played throughout. The Psalm setting (Ps 135) was one of those exegetical ones  [I'll find out which] that goes from major to a minor key and back again, to warn those whose attention to the actual words may have wandered that it's best to stay on the right side of this god, 'cos he does his share of smiting. The Barton bellringers rang the bells. It's great to be part of church which has a thriving choir able to do the decent Anglican thing, and do it very well.

Our congregation does well too, and most weeks we sing the psalm to Anglican chant; it seems to me that the congregation is a hefted flock (a term borrowed from sheep-rearing terminology which I believe has been used before in scriptural and ecclesiastical contexts), in that there is an ingrained knowledge of the territory which it would be tragic to lose. We are grateful to our good shepherds Alan and Geoff for keeping us safe.
You can see that we had a great bunfight afterwards, and here is Alan holding forth in Edward King House. 
I try to do my bit to keep up Anglican traditions too; it seems to me that a parish that has a proper choir should have a properly dressed clergywifey. I spent the afternoon on research (for a replacement lipstick and the stuff you use to cover up the dark shadows under the eyes that come from worrying about what to wear) while the choir rehearsed. Of course, the flowers on the hat flopped in the wind and heat of the afternoon, and on the way back someone asked me if it was decorated with wisteria; I had to admit that the flowers had started their life as bunches of bluebells. This transformation was a discovery which could have its uses: "I'm not a wilted bluebell, I'm a wisteria".

The other bike

...and this is my other bike. No, the OTHER one, silly! This one I inadvertently bought when I went into a bike shop for some bike clips for mi trouser bottoms. I was assured that this was the very bike ridden by rich ladies in Switzerland who drove BMWs the rest of the time.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

But WHY?

Today after the morning eucharist, the parish priest fell into a sound slumber, so I decided to take the hat on a Humber trip rather than stay around and maybe disturb him by making noises in the kitchen, washing up and so on, though I must say that I can sleep VERY well through the sound of someone else washing up. I liked the idea of stopping on the bridge with this floral offering, in a sort of reversal of the usual floral offerings on the bridge, which take the form of a bunch of flowers tied to the railings at a point where some poor soul has not felt able to carry on living. To place the Easter-eucharistic hat at such a place seemed to symbolise some kind of hope, and to ride about in the hat was a bit of a 'Do they know it's Christmas?' kind of outing, and several people smiled at me, which can't be bad.

I made it over to the Other Side and down onto Hessle foreshore, and then back into Barton where I ascended about 3 of the 4 hills on offer just for the joy of coming back down (remember?), and back home with just 10 minutes in which to get changed for choral evensong, not thinking it quite right to turn up in biking gear, though why not? (Bedrooms suffer when you do that kind of thing - whirling about trying on about 3 of everything to see what will go well with a wind-blown hat full of flowers begging to be allowed to lie down). Part of the idea was to road-test the flowers and see how many actually did blow away in the wind (very few), and how many might be relied on tomorrow to make the trip to Lincoln Cathedral when the choir will be singing evensong (very few).

The bike is a leftover from when our boys were my size, and I love it; a British-made Raleigh Sabre 18-speed such as you can now get on e-bay for about £10.

Easter day at St. Mary's, Barton-on-Humber.

 Easter Sunday at St Mary's Barton went well, the lilies opened as instructed by Shirley Creasey and her crack team of flower arrangers, and Mike Mumby, today's thurifer, wore the lace cotter which he has not used significantly since about 40 years ago when the church of St Chad down Waterside was closed and a procession made from there to St Mary's.

The choir were in fine form tonight for full choral evensong, and tomorrow they are to sing evensong in Lincoln cathedral, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Revd Alan Wright as choirmaster. You can see him elevated here below.

I say! This is starting to sound like  a newspaper report! This will not do! Note that Alan has been choirmaster for 40 years and STILL HAS BROWN HAIR!

Happy Easter!

The hat got decorated, and a second loaf of bread was made! It was covered in wild things, the hat I mean. Fizz was served, and lunch after the loll on the grass. The hat has wilted now though, and I'll need some other thing for tomorrow at Lincoln cathedral, as our wonderful choir will be singing evensong there at 5.30 to mark our choirmaster's 40th anniversary as choirmaster. Choral evensong here tonight requiring a hat too; perhaps the wilted one will be fine. (I thank thee Lord that thou didst not make me a ladyclergyman!) Happy Easter!

Sermon from t'owd man was about resurrection (well fancy that) and life before death, and ideas for my Ruth project (ch 1) came flooding in during the offertory, but are unlikely to be realised in any form until next week at the earliest. Normal exegetical service will then be resumed. For now, I feel I must give the hat a spin across the bridge.......

Rocket science

I'm only allowed to spend time on this blog if I make it serious; t'owd man gets twitchy if I'm on Facebook as he says it's all pointless trivia. Thus, greetings from St. Mary's Barton-on-Humber on Easter morning 2011. 6 am, ugh. 'Just like the camino' as I am wont to say. I'm not a morning person. This is Kathy, our curate, with Easter new fire. You might make out a bottle in the background between the two gravestones; this is not the debris of Barton's night life, but the launching pad for the rocket. You can see a previous rather spectacular Easter bonfire at
Try it! You won't be disappointed. And now, frothy coffee consumed I must turn the hat below into something less 'Ezekiel 37'. (It's the dried remains of the last hat of summer 2010).

Growth opportunity

Oh dear! The loaf I made overnight. I forgot something, didn't I? The paddle in the bread machine. Thus kind of loaf is known in our house as a 'David Jenkins loaf'. All the right ingredients, but nothing has risen. I know, I know, I KNOW! He didn't mean that. Let them eat cakes (illustr). At least being in the C of E, I know how to make the best of things; a cooking disaster isn't really a disaster, it's AFGO, you know, a Growth Opportunity. Please feel free to use it for sermon illustration for a small charge. Proceeds to the Send a Friend on the Camino fund.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


Aaaahhh! A sunset! This one is looking west from the Yorkshire end of the Humber bridge. It's not far from Hull, and if it were clearer you'd see N. Ferriby somewhere on the rise. Being on the east coast, it's quite good that we can get a sunset over water, since I'm not the kind of person to be up early enough to see a sunrise over water.

Hats don't just happen

Further to previous on hats, I wasn't joking when I said it was a serious business. Thus, it being Easter day tomorrow, I must not disappoint my public, so I have been out in the garden collecting as many kinds of wild and wild-ish flowers as I could find. It'll only take me a half hour tomorrow to put it all together.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Proverbs altar frontal

This is a pic of a group effort altar frontal I organised for our church, St, Mary's, Barton-on-Humber. It isn't finished in this pic, I can't find a pic of the finished thing, so please ignore the raw edges and the fact that it is propped up on chairs. The idea behind it was to do something complementary to the window depicting the superwoman in Proverbs 31. See Gordon Plumb's photos of the window at

Thus several people took up the invitation to embroider a square to illustrate a proverb or theme from Proverbs. Then I sewed them all together, interspersed with a green lattice suggestive of the rural environment for which the book seems to have been produced, maybe aimed at helping young farmers choose a suitable wife. The off-centre look is deliberate: it is an invitation to see the thing (the book? the frontal?) as unfinished so that we may ourselves be woven into it. No-one handed in a depiction Lady Folly; I ended up doing that one myself.


I started a blog so that I might record some of my more serious and considered thoughts, and so I don't apologise at all for including this. My hats are serious business. This is me, dressing up as a vicar's wife. Unashamedly an outfit, not the real me at all.

Cloth Q explained

Cloth Q surely needs no explanation! He is the character in Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth. Here he is, soon after being created, in his birth place, my lair. He's actually Cloth Q 2, as Cloth Q 1 was made especially for Ecclesiastes expert Eric Christianson. Cloth Q 2 is 'chasing after wind', as I am*; sadly, tomorrow's wind is forecast to be rather pathetic. I feel sure that Qoheleth would be the kind of person to take up some energetic sport in later life, and would affirm the validity of doing it rather poorly. (I think this is called 'midrash'.)

I felt justified in getting some exegetical help from sport when I read that some clergyman had done a PhD in 'snowboarding and spirituality', in which it was held that the snowboarding experience is a spiritual one.  See
"Canon Elliot interviewed 35 snowboarders, including “merchant bankers, civil servants, teachers, and all kinds of people you wouldn’t expect to be snowboarders”."

Er - what DOES he expect? And how else could they afford to do it?

Anyway, it had to happen that this blog contained some windsurfing reference.  Maybe you can say that this kind of thing is a spiritual experience, but isn't it just the joy of whizzing along powered by a natural force? (As opposed to jet-skiiing - ugh!) Which makes you feel good to be alive?

*I know, I know - in Qoheleth, 'chasing after wind' has negative connotations; I'm just playing!

Psalms skirt

Here is one I made earlier! This is some of the ongoing work on the Psalms, small textile pictures which get turned into - er - a skirt, the 'Psalms skirt'. Although I'm working from Psalms 1 onwards, now and again I have to do one of the later ones, such as 65 and 131. These are fairly self-explanatory. Others need a good deal of explanation! Ps 132 was the psalm for the Sunday evening when David was trying to erect a greenhouse, and part of it shattered. Thus 'Remember David in all his troubles' had the choir girls falling about, and you can see the shattered glass here. Ps 65 is homage to Samuel Palmer's harvest etchings. Eventually, the whole skirt will be covered, and my textile skills will have improved with practice. It's a great way to combine exegesis, bike riding, bookbinding, gardening and - er - posing. Most of my hobbies in one go!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Humber bridge (2)

Most days I like a ride on my bike, and tonight I bobbed over to Yorkshire and back to help mi dinner settle. I love the fact that the Humber bridge can be seen from my garden (just!), and I think it's something quite wonderful. This is what it looked like in tonight's haze. This is the second pic to show part of it, and it won't be the last.