Sunday, 30 September 2007

Walking in a garden at the break of day

Once more we celebrate the Day of Resurrection, and so we have an image of flowers in the garden at Latymer - to remind us of the Easter Garden.

Walking in a garden at the break of day,
Mary asked the gardener where the body lay;
But he turned towards her, smiled at her and said:
'Mary, spring is here to stay, only death is dead'.

Have a Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Walking in a garden where the Lord had gone

On Saturday we wait for the Day of Resurrection. A garden (such as this one at Latymer) can be a lovely place to wait and pray. The following verse reminds us of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane on that first Maundy Thursday.

Walking in a garden where the Lord had gone,
Three of his disciples - Peter, James, and John;
They were very weary, could not keep awake,
While the Lord was kneeling there, praying for their sake.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Walking in a garden at the close of day

Here is the back garden joining Rivercourt House with Latymer House. It is an oasis of peace and quiet - but this photo shows no flowers.

Walking in a garden at the close of day,
Adam tried to hide him when he heard God say:
'Why are you so frightened, why are you afraid?
You have brought the winter in, made the flowers fade'.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Sweet corn at Latymer House

Here we see sweet corn - a kind of maize with sweet grains, growing in the front garden of Latymer House. It will soon be ready for harvesting. I doubt if there will be enough for the 750 people who eat school lunch each day!

When parishioners realise that I have to eat school dinners, they seem to pity me. Well, our school lunches are absolutely superb - and that is no joke. You would have to pay at least £10 if you had them in an ordinary restaurant - and the service is always with a smile. The Catholic Church is well-represented amongst our catering staff, though the Catering Manager (Adrian) is a devout Jew. And yes, we do get offered pork - in case you are wondering!

Fair waved the golden corn
In Canaan's pleasant land,
When full of joy, some shining morn,
Went forth the reaper-band.

To God so good and great
Their cheerful thanks they pour;
Then carry to his temple-gate
The choicest of their store.

Adrian would approve of these words. What a lovely thought for the day - 'God so good and great'. I have only one word to add - Alleluia!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

And O what transport of delight!

Here is a view from the front garden of Latymer House. You can see the Thames and some of the school's boats ready for the river. You can see the Thames Path which is popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists - and sadly the odd motorist! You can also see a plane in the sky.

Personally, I rather like the splendid pampas grass, and the grand lamp-post!

Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth:
And O what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never:
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house for ever.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A heron in the Thames

I spotted this heron from the window of the Assembly Room of Latymer Preparatory School. This image will bring joy to 25% of the pupils! There are four 'Houses' in the Prep School:- Cormorants, Herons, Kingfishers, and Mallards. My apologies to the other 75% who probably find this image repulsive!

Monday, 24 September 2007

View from Rivercourt House

Here is a lovely view of the River Thames from the Assembly Room of Latymer Preparatory School. With such a view, I doubt whether the pupils listen to a word I say when I conduct their Assembly each Wednesday at midday!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Day of Resurrection - 1

These lovely dahlias in Petersham Nurseries form a fitting image for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The day of resurrection!
earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness,
the passover of God!
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over
with hymns of victory.

Have a Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The Bull's Head at Kew

Oh dear, this blog is going down-market isn't it! But what a lovely scene. Here we see another gastro-pub, this time the Bull's Head, up river from Chiswick just before you reach Kew railway bridge. Just look at those swans!

Like a mighty river flowing,
like a flower in beauty growing,
far beyond all human knowing
is the perfect peace of God.

I'll raise the tone tomorrow - the Day of Resurrection.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The Black Lion Pub!

I had not intended to do this particular post, but I am a bit pressed for time and needed to find a suitable photo quickly - well that is my excuse!

In addition to some lovely churches and houses, there are some famous pubs along Upper Mall and Chiswick Mall on the North bank of the River Thames. The Black Lion shown here is a so called 'gastro pub'! My pupils may wish to visit it - once they have finished their 'A' level exams.

In the meantime, they can visit St Peter's Church which can be seen in the background.

Soon we'll reach the shining river,
soon our pilgrimage will cease;
soon our happy hearts will quiver
with the melody of peace.

Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river,
gather with the saints at the river,
that flows from the throne of God.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Latymer House

Next door to Rivercourt House is Latymer House - the other riverside building which belongs to Latymer Preparatory School.

This house contains a large kitchen where our famous pizza parties are sometimes held after services in the Chapel of the Resurrection. Again, the house offers magnificent views of the river.

At the smiling of the river,
mirror of the Saviour's face,
saints whom death will never sever,
lift their song of saving grace.

Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river,
gather with the saints at the river,
that flows from the throne of God.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Rivercourt House

We now visit two riverside houses on the North side of the Thames between Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge.

Rivercourt House is one of the two houses which belong to Latymer Preparatory School - where I work! There are lovely river views from this building.

Ere we reach the shining river,
lay we every burden down;
grace our spirits will deliver,
and provide a robe and crown.

Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river,
gather with the saints at the river,
that flows from the throne of God.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Chiswick Parish Church

Our second riverside church is further upstream. Chiswick Parish Church is dedicated to St Nicholas and St Mary Magdaline.

On the margin of the river,
washing up its silver spray,
we will walk and worship ever,
all the happy golden day.

Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river,
gather with the saints at the river,
that flows from the throne of God.

Monday, 17 September 2007

St Peter's Church, Hammersmith

We now visit two riverside churches between Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Bridge. The first is well-named, it is St Peter's!

Shall we gather at the river,
where bright angel feet have trod,
with its crystal tide for ever
flowing from the throne of God?

Yes, we'll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river,
gather with the saints at the river,
that flows from the throne of God.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The Thames at Hammersmith

Here we see some house boats on the River Thames, just upstream from Hammersmith Bridge. Quite a rural sight in this urban area. It brings to mind the story of Zaccheus in Luke Chapter 19.

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, come down quickly for I must stay at your house today." So Zaccheus hurried down and received him joyfully. All the people who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to the house of a sinner as a guest."

Let us make sure that we invite Jesus as a guest into our homes today. Have a Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Hammersmith Bridge

This bridge is very dear to me! I cross is every week day at around 8.00 am on my journey from my home on Ham Common to work at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith.

Prayer and praise is a great bridge between heaven and earth.

Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!
The heavens are not too high,
His praise may thither fly;
The earth is not too low,
His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing,
My God and King!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station in London was the first in a series of large coal-fired electrical generating facilities set up in England as part of the National Grid power distribution system then being introduced. The first part of the structure was built in 1939, and the station ceased electricity-generation in 1983. Since then the site has remained largely unused, with numerous failed redevelopment plans from successive site owners. The building is the largest brick-built structure in Europe and is notable for its original and lavish Art Deco fittings and decor.

The building is Grade II listed, and the condition was described as "very bad" by English Heritage, who have included it on their Buildings at Risk Register. The site has been owned by Irish company Real Estate Opportunities (REO) since November 2006, after they purchased it for £400 million.

This does not impress me. The 'humble' flat in which I live on Ham Common is a Grade II* listed building. It was built between 1957 and 1958 and is still a joy to live in! So, thinking of power stations:

Be thou my breast-plate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my armour, and be thou my might;
Thou my soul's shelter, and thou my high tower,
O raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Victoria Tower

Victoria Tower is where The Queen enters the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening. The red canopied area is the terrace of the House of Lords. This is where VIP's are entertained.

Here am I being entertained as a Member of The Royal Institution, earlier this summer. I have always claimed that humility is one of my strongest points! In the words of Our Lady:

The mighty arm of God
scatters the proud in their conceit,
pulls tyrants from their thrones,
and raises the humble.
the Lord fills the starving
and lets the rich go hungry.

I had better watch out!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Big Ben

OK! Yes, I know that this is not a picture of Big Ben! Big Ben is the largest bell inside the clock tower which rings out the hours. When I took this photo on Saturday 11 August Big Ben was silent for servicing purposes.

The bells are silent in church on Good Friday and Holy Saturday until they sound a triumphant peal at the Gloria of the First Mass of Easter. They are often rung in a similar fashion at the Gloria at Christmas Midnight Mass.

What a pity that the Angelus is not rung from more churches at morning, noon, and evening.

Ave, ave Maria!
To gladden priest and people,
The angelus shall ring from every steeple,
To sound his Virgin-birth, Alleluia!
Ave, ave Maria!
Ave, ave Maria!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The Houses of Parliament

Here we see the magnificent Houses of Parliament - the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

God bless our native land,
May heaven's protecting hand
Still guard our shore;
May peace her power extend,
Foe be transformed to friend,
And Britain's rights depend
On war no more.

We also pray for the USA on this special anniversary day.

Monday, 10 September 2007

The London Eye

Our new 'mini-series' is going to be a river trip along the Thames from Westminster to Hammersmith. We start off near Waterloo Station and the London Eye. I have only been on the Eye once (in 2000, with my sister - who did not enjoy the experience). I thought it was great, and must go again. Twilight is probably the best time to 'fly'.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild:
Christ our God, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Morning has broken

These three young birds are enjoying the summer sunshine in Isabella Plantation.

Morning has broken
like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken
like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall
sunlit from heaven,
like the first dew-fall
on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness
where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning
born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
praise every morning,
God's re-creation
of the new day!

Have a Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

A chick at Isabella Plantation

I am grateful to the person who informed my that the 'rare birds' at Ham Common pond were Egyptian Geese. Although I am a member of the RSPB, I have no idea of what this young chick is. Perhaps I will be enlightened on this also!

We can all give thanks for our childhood, but thank God for leading us towards adulthood.

When in the slippery paths of youth
With heedless steps I ran,
Thine arm unseen conveyed me safe,
And led me up to man.

Friday, 7 September 2007

The beauty of creation

Here is another lovely view of Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. Some of the oak trees in Richmond Park are over 400 years old - so much for our 'three score year and ten'!

Lord of beauty, thine the spendour
Shown in earth and sky and sea,
Burning sun and moonlight tender,
Hill and river, flower and tree:
Lest we fail our praise to render
Touch our eyes that they may see.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Isabella Plantation

I cycle through Richmond Park most weekdays at around 7.30 am on my way into work at Hammersmith. I much enjoy the route, but rarely appreciate one of the gems which I pass so often - Isabella Plantation. During the Summer Holidays I took time out to visit this beauty spot.

How often do we pass beauty each day - and ignore it? It reminds me of words from a Christmas Carol:

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

I will sing to the Lord!

Here we see four horses and their riders about to cross the Petersham Road and go on Ham Common. It reminds me of the Exodus Canticle at the Easter Vigil:

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!
Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my stength, my song, my salvation.
This is my God and I extol him,
My Father's God and I give him praise.

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

Fortunately, the riders crossed Ham Common without being thrown into the pond!

Please note the splendid traffic light - not for pedestrians - but for horse and rider!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Rare birds on Ham Common

These birds must be very rare - because I don't know what they are! They certainly are not swans! Perhaps you can identify them for me?

Happy birds that sing and fly
Round thy altars, O most High;
Happier souls that find a rest
In a heavenly Father's breast;
Like the wandering dove that found
No repose on earth around,
They can to their ark repair,
And enjoy it ever there.

No, I know they are not doves!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest and do not store food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than birds?

Only a short distance from the pond is an altar, from which our Heavenly Father feeds his children with the spiritual food of the Body and Blood of his only Son - Jesus Christ.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Ham Common Pond in Moonlight

We have recently had a full moon - and here is the pond in the moonlight. Evidently, the wildfowl are not great sleepers!

When sleep her balm denies,
My silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised:
When evil thoughts molest,
With this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised.

The night becomes as day,
When from the heart we say,
May Jesus Christ be praised:
The powers of darkness fear,
When this sweet chant they hear,
May Jesus Christ be praised.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Pond on Ham Common

This lovely pond - with its wildfowl, is located just opposite the church of St Thomas Aquinas on Ham Common. I particularly like the weeping willows.

We don't use the pond for baptisms - but it is favourite place for wedding photographs. We have a Nuptial Mass in the church this coming Friday.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Heading towards Ham Common

Going from Ham Polo Ground we pass Ham House and continue on our journey to Ham Common. This lovely avenue leads onto the Common. It is hard to believe that one is only 12 miles from Trafalgar Square in the centre of London!