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Showing posts from 2023

Merry Christmas! 2023

Merry Christmas to you all! Didn't it feel as if everyone put their Christmas lights up really early this year? We put our tree up on 3rd December, and felt quite behind the times. Still, that was the day it snowed, so at least it was seasonal. After that it poured with rain for the rest of December. As if to compensate for the early Christmas lights, the school term insisted on running up to the 22nd. The boys were barely staggering in for the final weeks. I had a very busy last week at cafe (record takings!) so I was pleased to reach the end, too. Plus, I'd rashly booked in new carpet to be fitted on the 21st. That meant taking up the old stair carpet and the one in Toby's room, painting all the skirting boards, and clearing out Toby's furniture. Then replacing it all in time for Graham's mum to occupy the spare room the next day. It'll be fine, I said.   out with the old... Well, it was. With grateful thanks to Graham's friends Rich and Simon, who came ov

National Forest Way: Ratby and Martinshaw Wood

This was a walk of quiet woods and a busy motorway. The sky was gray and it felt as if the natural world had packed up and settled down for the winter.   I parked at the small Martinshaw Woods car park, on the outskirts of Ratby. Crossing the road to a housing estate, the first thing I saw was an old hearse, decorated with skull bunting and a black cat! "My sense of humour might hurt your feelings," said the sign. The footpath I was heading for had a nice sign saying The Stattie. It took me between a pub and a playing field. Then I crossed a lane and went past some young cows in a field, and into a small wood.   On the other side was a track that led to Holy Well Farm. The holy well is now a pond; apparently the water was good for the treatment of scorbutic diseases . Yes, I did have to Google that! Scorbutic means related to scurvy. Now you know. Holy Well farm and pond After the farm, the bridleway continued through woodland for quite some time. I stopped to listen. A bird

National Forest Way: Bagworth and Thornton Reservoir

I'd hoped to be further along with my walking by now, but a combination of illness, bad weather, and inset days meant that I couldn't get out for a few weeks. At the first sign of a break in the clouds, I was ready to go. It had rained heavily the day before, and there was still a watery feel to the air. I parked at Thornton Reservoir and donned waterproof trousers and wellies, then started by following a footpath along the back of some houses in Thornton. The village is perched on a ridge, which slopes down to the reservoir on one side, and Bagworth Heath woods on the other. view to Bagworth Heath woods I picked up the Leicestershire Round opposite the village school, and followed it past an old mill, across a railway line, and through the woods. One section of the path was particularly squelchy. At the end of the woods, the footpath sign pointed right, which I assumed meant I should follow the road. It wasn't until afterwards that I realised I could have crossed over and

Three Mile an Hour God: Spiritual Formation Book 10

"The affirmed life must not become either a lazy life or a happy-ever-after, easy life. The affirmed life is not a life of the power of positive thinking. To be affirmed by God means to live with danger and promise."   Kosuke Koyama's book Three Mile an Hour God was written out of the experience of the Second World War and its aftermath in Japan. As Koyama says in his preface, it is "a collection of biblical reflections by one who is seeking the source of healing from the wounds... inflicted by the destructive power of idolatry." The title speaks of a God who moves at walking pace - three miles an hour - and even, in Jesus, comes to a "full stop" - nailed to a cross. If we try to move faster than the love of God, says Koyama, we fall into idolatry. What is the book about? Three Mile an Hour God has 45 chapters, each a separate short reflection headed by a Bible verse. Some deal specifically with Japan, considering her role in WWII, the damage inflicte

National Forest Way: Ellistown, Bagworth, Nailstone

You may well say, "Where?" I'd never heard of any of these three villages before I planned to walk through them. Back in the 1970s, it would have been possible to travel between them underground. All three had collieries producing exceptional amounts of coal (Bagworth set a Guinness World Record). Nailstone and Bagworth collieries were connected in 1967, and Ellistown was merged with the other two in 1971. All the mines are long closed now. The railway lines have been taken up, the winding wheels turned into civic sculptures, and the pit sites transformed into country parks. It was a beautiful sunny day, but we'd had a lot of rain recently. Within five minutes of leaving Ellistown, I was glad I'd worn my wellies.   The way took me alongside a quarry site and then into a collection of woods: Common Hill Wood, Workmans Wood, Battram Wood. The colours of the trees in the November sunshine were beautiful. The path was a muddy mess. At Battram village I crossed a newly