Thursday, 30 September 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 3

We are now into the Medieval period.

These ladies represent the year 1297 and show the best in fashion from this period.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Today we celebrate the Feast with a photo of some Michaelmas daisies.

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones,
raise the glad strain, Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
virtues, archangels, angels' choirs,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O higher than the cherubim,
more glorious than the seraphim,
lead their praises, Alleluia!
Thou bearer of the eternal Word,
most gracious, magnify the Lord,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Respond, ye souls in endless rest,
ye patriarchs and prophets blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ye holy twelve, ye martyrs strong,
all saints triumphant, raise the song,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O friends, in gladness let us sing,
supernal anthems echoing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Athelstan Riley (1858-1945)

A rare treat - a Catholic congregation which actually enjoys singing such a splendid hymn!

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 2

Next we have the Vikings.

The Viking soldiers who invaded Scotland arrived in 920AD. They look fairly fierce to me!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 1

During August this year, Historic Scotland held a Colossal Celebration of the Centuries at Fort George, not far from Inverness.

This was the largest event ever staged at the site. In the celebration of Scotland's amazing historical past, they featured everything from the Roman Legions to the modern Army of the 21st century.

Here we see the Antonine Guard of AD 145.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today in the gospel we hear the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

Father, Lord of all creation,
ground of Being, Life and Love:
height and depth beyond description
only life in you can prove:
you are mortal life's dependence
thought, speech, sight are ours by grace.
Yours is every hour's existence
sovereign Lord of time and space.

Jesus Christ, the Man for Others
we, your people, make our prayer
give us grace to love as brothers
all whose burdens we can share.
Where your name binds us together
you, Lord Christ, will surely be;
where no selfishness can sever
there your love may others see.

Holy Spirit, rushing, burning
wind and flame of Pentecost,
fire our hearts afresh with yearning
to regain what we have lost.
May your love unite our action,
nevermore to speak alone:
God, in us abolish faction
God, through us your love make known.

Stewart Cross b.1928

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 6

The Flower Show has something for everyone! Here we see some prize winning jams...

...and prize winning shortbread...

...and the prize winning cake!

Well on Monday, we are off to Fort George once more for a Colossal Celebration of the Centuries.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 5

Here we see two prize winning displays of vegetables...

...and an award winning display of fruit.

Congratulations to the winners!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 4

Here we see the award winning gladioli.

Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword) is a genus of perennial bulbous flowering plants in the iris family. Sometimes called the sword lily, the most widely used English common name for these plants is simply gladiolus (plural gladioli, gladioluses).

Gladioli are very susceptible to being blown over and will probably need support unless they are growing through other plants – another way to help them stay upright is to draw soil around the base of the plant to support the stem.

Cut flowers for indoor displays as soon as the first flower bud on the stem has just started to open so that you get the maximum benefit from your cut flowers. When cutting a flower stem length is important; but try to leave as many leaves as possible on the plant so that the corm can benefit from the maximum nourishment provided by the leaves for the rest of the season.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 3

Here we see a prize winning rose.

Roses are mentioned many times in the Bible. After exploring the Holy Land and re-examining Greek and Hebrew documents from which the Scriptures were translated, botanists are now agreed that a narcissus, a crocus, a rock rose and an oleander were variously referred to as "roses".

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 2

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Matthew - Apostle and Evangelist.

As we admire these award winning dahlias, we can meditate on some words of Our Lord as recorded in Matthew's Gospel.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6.28-34)

Happy Feast!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Inverness Flower Show - 1

The Flower Show was held at Inverness High School during the last weekend of August.

Here we see some impressive award winning begonias.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today, Jesus challenges us to get our priorities right. Which do we value more, God or money?

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord for the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word, receive your people's praise.

Lord, for our land in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care:
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world where men disown and doubt you,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain,
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without you:
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us-
self on the cross, and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith (1969)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 12

The grand-finale to the show was a display by the White Helmets Motorcycle Team.

These police officers displayed the type of riding for which one would be arrested on the open highway!

Well on Monday we are off to the Inverness Flower Show.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 11

We are now back on the main arena!

One of the popular events was a display of police dog training. The children were most impressed by the way this particular dog 'arrested' a well-known criminal who had escaped from prison and was attending the show!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 10

In addition to more traditional farming, the Black Isle is famous for horticulture.

Here we see a prize-winnig display of dahlias. Not only are the dahlias in my garden not up to this standard, they are also about a month behind! Still, they make a lovely cut flower for the house.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 9

It is well-known that Scotland has an ideal climate for growing raspberries, and here is the prize-winning entry.

The raspberries in my own garden are only just ready for picking now - but they are called 'Autumn Glory' and are late fruiting.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 8

Today we celebrate Holy Cross Day.

As I am from England, I was delighted to see that runner beans are grown commercially on the Black Isle. Here we see the winning entry.

This summer has been a very poor one in the Highlands in terms of weather, but runner beans have done particularly well. I have already put 30 bags of beans in my freezer - and there are still more beans to come. Fortunately I love eating them!

Happy Feast!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 7

The Black Isle is an important area for market gardening.

Here we see various awarding winning entries for the assorted vegetable class. It is considered a great honour to win first prize at the show.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today we hear the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
to his feet thy tribute bring
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
who like me His praise should sing?
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise Him! Praise Him!
praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for his grace and favour
to our fathers in distress:
praise Him still the same for ever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless;
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise Him! Praise Him!
glorious in His faithfulness.

Father-like he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame He knows:
in His hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise Him! Praise Him!
widely as His mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore Him:
ye behold Him face to face:
sun and moon, bow down before Him,
dwellers all in time and space.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise Him! Praise Him!
praise with us the God of grace!

H F Lyte (1793-1847)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 6

Onions are another important commercial crop grown by farmers on the Black Isle.

In note that the onions which were awarded third prize were considerably smaller than those which were awarded first and second prizes - but perhaps they tasted better!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 5

Potatoes (which are a major ingredient of stovies) are an important crop on the Black Isle.

Farmers were required to display four examples of four different types of potato on a black background. This display won second prize. I was unable to get a decent photo of the first prize display because so many people were crowding round it!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 4

Show jumping was an important event on the main arena.

I was informed that some farmers put considerable pressure on their daughters to perform well in the various events, because not only does winning a Gold Medal bring glory to the girl, it can also significantly increase the market value of the horse!

You will see a van selling stovies in the background. Stovies is traditionally a left over dish from the Sunday Roast, using the tatties, meat and dripping leftovers all thrown into one pot. The origins of stovies are said to come from a time when masters would give their servants the left over food from Sunday lunch. They would take this home or to their quarters and make a dish that could last them all week and was easy to cook.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 3

Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember how she gave birth to her Son in a stable.

Farmers brought along plenty of animals hoping to win 'best of show'.

Although most of the animals were sheep and cattle, I was particularly fond of the goats. This one took quite a liking to my camera!

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 2

One of the activities at the Show was woodcarving.

Here we see a magnificent Scottish Thistle - I would have liked it for my garden, but it cost £180. I had to make do with buying 20 tulip bulbs for £5!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Black Isle Show - 1

During August I worked for two days at the Black Isle Show which was held at Muir of Ord. This is a marvellous agricultural show for farmers and their families. I was wine waiter in the VIP hospitality marquee and had a great time! As you can see, suppliers of farm equipment use the show to display their latest products for farmers to buy. They probably hope I poured plenty of glasses of wine before the farmers got their cheque books out!

The poster below gives you some information on the family entertainment provided during the show.

The Black Isle is not an island but is, in fact, a peninsula, in the Scottish Highlands. It is about 23 miles long by about 9 miles wide at its broadest point and is more or less oval in shape. Situated just to the north of Inverness with Dingwall to the west, it can be reached via the A9 from the south or north, or the A832 from the west.

It is attached to the mainland at the heads of the Cromarty and Beauly Firths, and the description 'Black' is no more correct than 'Isle'. The exact origin of its name is unknown, though there are at least six possible explanations of why it became the "Black" Isle, ranging from the most intriguing, through its association with witchcraft and the black arts in mediaeval times, to the more prosaic, that the soil here is very black, or that it has so many trees that it looks black when viewed from surrounding areas in Winter.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks to us about how to build a tower.

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Hover around us while we pray;
New perils past, new sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If, on our daily course, our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
As more of heaven in each we see;
Some softening gleam of love and prayer
Shall dawn on every cross and care.

We need not bid, for cloistered cell,
Our neighbour and our friends farewell,
Nor strive to find ourselves too high
For sinful man beneath the sky.

The trivial round, the common task,
Will furnish all we ought to ask;
Room to deny ourselves, a road
To bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in Thy dear love,
Fit us for perfect rest above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live more nearly as we pray.

John Keble (1792-1866)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Highland Games - 12

At the very end of the long parade we see the Provost of Inverness - Councillor Jimmy Gray. He is the gentleman in the middle with the gold chain round his shoulders.

Sadly, I was not able to gain admission to the Highland Games themselves, but I am told it was a splendid event. It didn't involve any fighting, but the competition was fierce and the youngsters ran a very straight race! There were plenty of prizes to be won and no reports of anyone fainting!

Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.

Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.

J S B Monsell (1811-1875)

On Monday we are off to the Black Isle Show.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Highland Games - 11

After the formal march past, the VIP's joined the rear of the parade and walked to the Highland Games in the Northern Meeting Park.

It was good to see this Clergyman (not myself!) given a place of honour. I assume he must have had a distinguished military career in his more youthful days.

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

G K Chesterton, 1906

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Highland Games - 10

Finally in the parade we have the Inverness Sea Scouts.

We're riding along on the crest of a wave
And the sun is in the sky,
All our eyes on the distant horizon
Look out for passers-by.
We'll do the hailing
While other ships are round us sailing
We're riding along on the crest of a wave
and the world is ours

All hands aboard, boys,
All hands abord, boys,
The ship is calling for more.
We're getting getting ready,
Now for a steady -
Pull-away from the home shore.
We're off to find adventure anyhow
Because we know that now:-

We're riding...

Sailing the seas is -
Great, when the breezes -
Seem just to blow you along.
And though before we -
Land there'll be stormy -
Weather, we'll face it with song
High through the billows we'll go crashing through
With our adventure crew..

We're riding along...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Highland Games - 9

Next we have the Air Cadets.

God is our strength and refuge,
Our present help in trouble;
and we therefore will not fear,
though the earth should change!
Though mountains shake and tremble,
though swirling floods are raging,
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

There is a flowing river,
Within God’s holy city;
God is in the midst of her -
she shall not be moved!
God’s help is swiftly given,
thrones vanish at his presence -
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

Come, see the works of our maker,
learn of his His deeds all powerful;
wars will cease across the world
when He shatters the spear!
Be still and know your creator,
uplift Him in the nations -
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

Richard Bewes (b.1934)