Monday, 30 June 2008

Farewell to Latymer - 1

I shall be retiring from Latymer Upper School on 31 August this year - but as the term finishes this Friday (4 July) it seems fitting to have a few posts this week to say 'good-bye'. This photo shows the Prep School - Rivercourt House and Latymer House. I have much enjoyed teaching Religious Studies to the boys and girls aged 7-11 years.

Although the pupils in the Prep no doubt think I look at least 65, I am in fact only 55 years old, so this represents early retirement. I have taught for 33 years - 18 of these at Latymer. It may come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am off to the Highlands of Scotland. I hope to move to a new house in Culloden, just outside Inverness in November. I hope to do more church work - but that of course will be up to the Bishop of Aberdeen.

However, one thing is sure - this blog will continue, but with a new name - 'Hills of the North, Rejoice!', (though I'll stick with the present name for the time being).

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Sts Peter & Paul

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

With golden splendour, and with roseate hues of morn,
O gracious Saviour, Light of light, this day adorn,
Which brings to ransomed sinners hopes of that far home
Where saints and angels sing the praise of martyrdom.

Lo, the Keybearer, lo, the Teacher of mankind,
Lights of the world and judges sent to loose and bind,
Alike triumphant or by cross or sword-stroke found,
In life's high Senate stand with victor's laurel crowned.

Good Shepherd, Peter, unto whom the charge was given
To close or open ways of pilgrimage to heaven,
In sin's hard bondage held may we have grace to know
The full remission thou wast granted to bestow.

O noble Teacher, Paul, we trust to learn of thee
Both earthly converse and the flight of ecstasy;
Till from the fading truths that now we know in part
We pass to fulness of delight of mind and heart.

Twin olive brances, pouring oil of gladness forth,
Your prayers shall aid us, that for all our little worth,
Believing, hoping, loving, we for whom ye plead,
This body dying, may attain to life indeed.

Now to the glorious Trinity be duly paid
Worship and honour, praise and service unafraid,
Who in unending Unity, one Lord sublime,
Hath ever lived as now and to unending time. Amen.

What splendid words - what food for meditation. They don't write hymns like that today.

Happy Feast!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Plockton - 11

Here we have two final images of Plockton.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Plockton - 10

Here we have another colourful image from Plockton.

Having got away with yesterday's link, I'm being a little more daring today, and giving you a link to the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye. Again, you can sample some of the produce at the Plockton Hotel.

As the Holy Father is known to favour Fanta Orange as his favourite tipple, I'll try and provide a link to Irn-Bru one of these days. I have to confess, I didn't bother to ask whether they stock it at the Plockton Hotel!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Plockton - 9

Here we have a lovely arch of blossom leading into one of the houses in Plockton.

I am using this highly respectable image as a foil to a link to the Isle of Skye Brewing Company for those who want more details of some of the ales served at the Plockton Hotel. Hopefully, the Vatican authorities will assume it is a link to some plant nursery!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Plockton - 8

Yesterday evening, after having been deacon at the Solemn Mass at Westminster Cathedral, I went with two of the altar servers to the Cardinal Pub for a pint to continue our celebrations of the Birthday of John the Baptist (not that the good saint would approve!). One of the servers (who is a regular visitor to this blog) said he must pay a visit to Plockton sometime - so I have provided a link to the Plockton Hotel for the benefit of any reader who would either like to have a meal there - or perhaps stay the night. The food is excellent, and the accommodation looks very good.

I shall expect a meal on the house the next time I go there for lunch!

The village is really unique. If you look closely at today's photo you will see a palm tree! Yes, the village benefits from the gulf stream - which explains the beautiful flowers which bloom in many of the gardens. The BBC chose the village as the setting for their popular TV series entitled 'Hamish Macbeth'.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Plockton - 7

Here are some lovely lupin blooms at Plockton Secondary School. I am convinced that flowers like these help to create a more relaxed and happy atmosphere in a place of work. We could do with some lupins in the garden at Latymer Upper School. Our present colourless gardens are the work of a so called 'gardening expert'. No comment!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Plockton - 6

They certainly like colour in the grounds of Plockton Secondary School!

I wish we could have their gardener at Latymer Upper School - our gardens are so colourless.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Plockton - 5

These lovely azaleas - in the grounds of Plockton Secondary School - provide a festive blaze of colour for the Day of Resurrection.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Plockton - 4

I'm not sure whether anyone lives in this house in Plockton. Perhaps I should have knocked on the door to find out!

'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.' (Revelation 3:20)

Tomorrow we shall have some lovely flowers to celebrate the Day of Resurrection.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Plockton - 3

Plockton is not just a pleasant village for tourists to visit, it is also a place for commercial fishing as shown in the following photo.

Most of the fish caught here are shellfish - many of which are taken on the overnight sleeper trains from Inverness or Fort William to the top restaurants in London.

The fish is much fresher and cheaper here - as I discovered at lunchtime!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Plockton - 2

Here are two views of the lovely fishing village of Plockton.

It is a haven of peace and refreshment.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Plockton - 1

At the end of May I travelled on the Highland railway line from Inverness to Plockton.

The line was somewhat less busy than the District Line in London, and it passed through some magnificent scenery. I was in festive mood, as I was entitled to a reduced fare - because I have reached the old age of 55. I am now a proud member of Scotsrail 'Club 55'! More bargains await me when I reach 60 - God willing.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Ham Common - 22

One of the young altar servers at Westminster Cathedral asked me recently what was my favourite liturgical colour. Without a moments thought I answered 'green' and went on to set the record straight by stating that I much preferred gothic vestments to roman vestments. He looked surprised - but I said I was in good company. I said you only have to look at nature to realise that green is God's favourite colour too!

This view of the back garden of the flats in Langham House Close seems to make my point! Tomorrow I shall be taking you to Plockton on the North West Coast of Scotland - there will be plenty of green there too!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Ham Common - 21

Well - here are the two escaped inmates!

Latchmere House Prison (which is located on the borders of Ham Common) houses some owls in addition to the male prisoners and staff. Some of the prisoners and staff brought two of their most notorious inmates (in chains) to the fair!

They look so cute and innocent! Please pray for all the other residents in Latchmere House. Several prisoners come to Mass at St Thomas Aquinas, Ham every Sunday - and no, they are free to walk there and back unescorted! It is great to have them worshipping with us.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Ham Common - 20

The fair was a great success. The Women's Institute did magnificent work...

and there was even a cricket match on the Common...

The rain only came on at 7.30 pm - just as the match was ending.

There was great excitement - as two of the inmates from the local prison turned up at the fair. I shall show them to you tomorrow - duly chained up I might add!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Ham Common - 19

Here is a photo of an elder bush growing in the grounds of St Michael's Convent on Ham Common.

The Sisters have a lovely walled garden. I don't know whether they make elderflower wine or elderberry wine - but perhaps I will know tomorrow - after visiting the stalls at the Ham Fair.

Have you been to Petersham Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,
Remember me from one who lives there,
For she once was a true love of mine.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Ham Common - 18

Here are some flowers growing in the cottage garden - foxgloves:


and roses and red hot pokers:

What a splendid sight!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Ham Common - 17

Here is a photo of a lovely cottage on Ham Common.

Hard to believe it is only 13 miles from Trafalgar Square. Small wonder that properties on the common are in such demand! Tomorrow I shall be showing you the lovely cottage garden.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Ham Common - 16

Here is a photo of the pond on Ham Common.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

This is one of my favourite hymns - especially when sung to the tune 'Royal Oak'.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Ham Common - 15

This is the sort of house that I would like to have. Sadly, the address is considered a little too grand for a deacon!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Ham Common - 14

Why not come to Ham Common this coming Saturday for the fair? St Thomas Aquinas Church will be having two stalls.

You can come by bike...

or by horse...

and there will be more than just football to play.

It should be a great day out. Please pray for fine weather!

I shall feature the fair in this blog next Sunday.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Ham Common - 13

Here is St Andrew's Church on Ham Common.

I find it so sad that this is not a Catholic church! It is Church of England - yet in so many respects the liturgy is much better than that at St Thomas Aquinas, Ham. Indeed, this Anglican parish is a most lively one. The lack of unity amongst the various Christian denominations is truly pathetic.

Please pray for the Vicar, other clergy and laity who worship in this lovely building.

It is interesting to note that Dr John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York (who jumped out of a plane at 13,000 ft* on Friday to raise money for the Armed Forces) served as a curate at St Andrew's Ham during the early 1980's.

*Please note - he was wearing a parachute and had a safe landing!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Ham Common - 12

Here is another fine house on the Common - Ivy Cottage.

This charming house dates from 1760, and boasts fine views over the Common. The owners have two rooms offering bed and breakfast accommodation for visitors wishing to stay in the area.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Ham Common - 11

The former garden of Langham House is now the location of 30 flats.

Langham House Close was the first mature work of noted architects Stirling and Gowan. The flats were completed in 1958 and are now a Grade 2* listed building.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Ham Common - 10

Langham House is another fine house on the Common.

It is no longer a single dwelling, but has been converted into three flats.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Ham Common - 9

Another important building on Ham Common is the Cassell Hospital.

This phsycotherepeutic community (part of the NHS) is located in a lovely old building.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Ham Common - 8

Ham Common is a very holy place - and not just because I live there!

The Common is also home to a Community of Anglican Sisters who live at St Michael's Convent. Perhaps you will remember them in your prayers today?

Monday, 2 June 2008

Ham Common - 7

Earthly food and drink is served at The New Inn on Ham Common!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Ham Common - 6

Here we have a lovely view through the trees of St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on Ham Common. The faithful receive Spiritual Food and Drink at the Eucharistic Banquet.

Happy Sunday!