Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 6

Here we see a Gold Medal Winner - Sparkle by Fryer's of Knutsford.

This rose is an astonishing newcomer with brilliant, sparkling golden-orange flowers - so bright they glow! As well as being large, they are impeccably formed and carried boldly on erect stems with the abundance of a floribunda. The blooms have a good fragrance, hold their colour well and are unaffected by the weather. Growth is strong and vigorous with luxurious dark green foliage and impressive disease resistance.

This is a real spellbinder that will not only liven up the dullest border, but is guaranteed to delight!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 5

This lovely show garden, called Birchfield was designed by Jack Dunckley.

In the show catalogue Jacks Says:

Welcome to my garden.

It's great to be back! This is the second garden I have designed at The Hampton Court Flower Show and I absolutely love being here.

Last year, I won a Silver Medal for my design 'A Deserts Delight' and this year I want to go one stage further and win Gold with my garden design called 'Birchfield'.

Last summer, I made many new friends here and learnt so much from the other designers. I'm 17 and this has been such a big year for me so far. I've really enjoyed designing 'Birchfield' and last month I passed my driving test. In between the fun stuff, I'm currently studying for my A-levels which can be quite challenging at times.

I'm afraid Jack only won a Silver Medal again this year - we wish him better luck with his A-levels!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 4

Well, here we are in the Flower Show - at the East End of the Palace grounds.

The 21st Hampton Court Flower Show is one of the highlights of the gardening calendar, offering inspiring gardens, floral displays and ideas for every gardener.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 3

Here we see the impressive West Front for the Palace - glorious!

Below is the Hampton Court Palace dateline

Giles Daubeney, later Lord Chamberlain, leases and modernises the medieval manor of Hampton Court

Thomas Wolsey, soon to be made cardinal, leases Hampton Court Palace. He begins rebuilding on a grand scale, converting Hampton Court into a lavish palace. Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon visit for the first time.

Henry VIII’s former tutor John Skelton writes that, 'The King’s Court should hath the excellence. But Hampton Court hath the pre-eminence'.

Henry VIII’s royal workmen take over building works at Hampton Court Palace

Henry VIII and his councillors send the first letter threatening a break with the Papacy to Rome from the palace

Queen Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, gives birth to Prince Edward. He is baptized with great ceremony in the Chapel Royal, but she dies soon after due to complications from the birth.

Henry VIII’s divorce from Anne of Cleves is signed at the palace. It is also where Henry VIII marries his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, and she is proclaimed queen.

Catherine Howard’s earlier sexual liaisons are revealed to Henry VIII at Hampton Court. She is interrogated and kept under house arrest in the palace.

Henry VIII marries his sixth and final wife, Kateryn Parr, in the Chapel Royal

Shakespeare and his company the ‘King’s Men’ perform plays in the Great Hall for King James I

James I calls the Hampton Court Conference which commissions the King James Bible

Sir Christopher Wren demolishes large parts of the Tudor palace and begins building a new palace for King William III and Queen Mary II

George III becomes king. He abandons Hampton Court as royal residence and it begins to be divided up into grace-and-favour apartments.

Queen Victoria opens the gardens and state apartments to the public free of charge

General, later President, Eisenhower plans the Normandy landings in Bushy Park

Prince Charles, speaking at Hampton Court, calls for 'a new harmony between imagination and taste and in the relationship between the architects and the people of this country'.

That's enough history - tomorrow we are at the RHS Flower Show!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 2

Please click on the photo below so as to get more information on the layout of Hampton Court Palace and Gardens - the River Thames is shown towards the bottom of the plan.

One of the most popular features is labelled No. 10 - The Maze! The RHS Flower Show is held around No. 15 in the grounds of the Deer Park.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Hampton Court Flower Show - 1

Earlier this month I left the Hills of the North and travelled 550 miles south. During my stay in London I visited the summer flower show organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Hampton Court Palace is located on the banks of the River Thames, around 15 miles south west of the centre of London. The Hampton Court Flower Show is the largest flower show in the world.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, we hear one of the disciples saying to Jesus, 'Lord, teach us to pray.'

Lord, teach us how to pray aright,
With reverence and with fear;
Though dust and ashes in Thy sight,
We may, we must draw near.

We perish if we cease from prayer;
O grant us power to pray;
And when to meet Thee we prepare,
Lord, meet us by the way.

God of all grace, we come to Thee
With broken, contrite hearts;
Give what Thine eye delights to see,
Truth in the inward parts.

Faith in the only sacrifice
That can for sin atone;
To cast our hopes, to fix our eyes,
On Christ, on Christ alone.

Patience to watch, and wait, and weep,
Though mercy long delay;
Courage our fainting souls to keep,
And trust Thee though Thou slay.

Give these, and then Thy will be done,
Thus, strengthened with all might,
We, through Thy Spirit and Thy Son,
Shall pray, and pray aright.

J Montgomery 1771-1854

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 6

The weather was not ideal barbecue weather, but after a heavy rain shower we were blessed with a lovely rainbow to send us on our way.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine's blaze its day
may brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms red
life that shall endless be.

George Matheson, 1882

On Monday, we are off to sunnier shores, as I recall the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 5

Happy faces, as people sit down and enjoy the feast!

Of course, the Feast which is celebrated three times a week inside the church supplies us with heavenly food.

At the Lamb's high feast we sing
praise to our victorious King,
who hath washed us in the tide
flowing from his pierced side;
praise we him, whose love divine
gives his sacred Blood for wine,
gives his Body for the feast,
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.

Where the Paschal blood is poured,
Death’s dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal Victim, paschal Bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we Manna from above.

Latin, 1632;
trans. Robert Campbell, 1849

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 4

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Mary Magdalene.

Some folk asked very politely for their food! Below we have an assortment of graces before meal.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ,
As you blessed many with the five loaves and the two fish,
may we too, know your blessing as we share this food. Amen.

Bless, O Lord, this food for our use, and make us ever mindful of the wants and needs of others. Amen.

Lord, Bless this bunch, while we much our lunch. Amen.

Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 3

Of course, not everyone was able to wait patiently for the food to be cooked! This parishioner was eager to see how the chicken was coming on!

Ye servants of the Lord,
each in his office wait,
observant of his heavenly word,
and watchful at his gate.

Let all your lamps be bright,
and trim the golden flame:
gird up your loins, as in his sight,
for aweful is his Name.

Watch; 'tis your Lord's command,
and while we speak, he's near;
mark the first signal of his hand,
and ready all appear.

O happy servant he,
in such a posture found!
He shall his Lord with rapture see,
and be with honour crowned.

Christ shall the banquet spread
with his own royal hand,
and raise that favoured servant's head
amid the angelic band.

Words: Philip Doddridge (1702-1751)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 2

Our church is in a lovely location. You can see the trees of Culloden Wood in the background - this is owned by the Forestry Commission.

Here we see everyone sitting patiently waiting for the food to be served. Perhaps everyone was thinking 'who is going to lead the singing of grace?'

Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for He is kind.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

He with all commanding might
Filled the new made world with light.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

He the golden tressèd sun
Caused all day his course to run.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Th’horned moon to shine by night;
’Mid her spangled sisters bright.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

All things living He doth feed,
His full hand supplies their need.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for He is kind.
For His mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

John Milton - 1623

Monday, 19 July 2010

Parish Barbecue - 1

At the beginning of this month we had a barbecue in the grounds of St Columba's, Culloden.

Here we see His Eminence starting to cook the food for the feast.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today in the Gospel we read about Mary sitting at the Lord's feet and listening to him speaking. In the meantime Martha was busy getting the meal ready!

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.


But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favour He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.


John Henry Sammis (1846-1919)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 18

The grounds of Balmoral Castle are a birdwatchers paradise!

The Duke of Edinburgh is very keen on shooting game for the dinner table when he stays at Balmoral towards the end of each summer. Red grouse are the game birds of the open moorland. Please note - the grouse shooting season does not start until 12 August.

Birds of prey are well represented in the area. Golden eagles hunt the moors and are spectacular birds with a 6 to 7 foot wingspan. Each pair will have a territory of about 90 square kilometres.

Well, that concludes our visit to Balmoral Castle. On Monday I shall be reporting on the Midsummer Barbecue at St Columba's, Culloden.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 17

This fox was hunted in the Castle grounds.

In addition to red deer and roe deer, foxes, mountain hares, red squirrels, stoats, otters, mink, moles, voles, shrews, wood-mice and bat can all be found in the Castle grounds. Rarities also include the pine martin and the wild cat.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 16

There are plenty of deer roaming the hills surrounding Balmoral Castle.

The area has two species of deer: the more common seen red deer and the much smaller roe deer. Red deer tend to spend summer high in the hills. The roe deer can be spotted in woodland.

As the deer pants for the water,
So my soul longs after You.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy-giver
And the apple of my eye.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

You're my Friend and You are my Brother,
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

Martin Nystrom (b.1956)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 15

There is plenty of wild life in the extensive grounds of Balmoral Castle - and in the stables there is an educational display of some stuffed animals and birds for the public to visit.

Here we see a splendid stag - a creature very much associated with the Hills of the North. I don't suppose this poor creature rejoiced at being shot and stuffed.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 14

As Her Majesty returns to the Castle following a walk in the gardens she will pass this splendid hen.

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

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.


The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.


The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.


The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.


The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.


He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


Cecil Francis Alexander (1818-1895)

Perhaps at Crathie Kirk they sing 'The rich Queen in her castle..' Only joking!

No! How foolish of me! Given the recent cuts in Public Spending the second verse should run:

The poor Queen in her castle,
The rich man at her gate.
He's paid his £6.80
To visit her estate!

Birreta tip to Fr Mildew for this hilarious idea.

Monday, 12 July 2010

12th July

Today, Orangemen throughout the world will be celebrating the 320th Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

As well as the pageantry, there is also a deeply spiritual side to the Order as shown in the following video - which shows an Orange Order Service in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh. This video was made in the Tercentenary Year (1990), less than 2 months before I left Northern Ireland to return to England. I was received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church on 28 September 1991. For the past two years I have been living in the Scottish Highlands.

It is worth recalling that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited this very Cathedral on the Thursday in Holy Week 2009, in order to distribute The Royal Maundy. Here we see her and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured with the Most Rev Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh. Alan was my Rector in Belfast between 1986 and 1990.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly, forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

I send loyal greetings to all my Protestant friends in Northern Ireland on this special day.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In todays Gospel we hear Jesus tell us the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Would you walk by on the other side,
when someone called for aid?
Would you walk by on the other side,
and would you be afraid?

Cross over the road my friend,
ask the Lord his strength to lend,
his compassion has no end,
cross over the road!

Would you walk by on the other side,
when you saw a loved one stray?
would you walk by on the other side,
or would you watch and pray?

Cross over the road my friend,
ask the Lord his strength to lend,
his compassion has no end,
cross over the road!

Would you walk by on the other side,
when starving children cried?
Would you walk by on the other side,
and would you not provide?

Cross over the road my friend,
ask the Lord his strength to lend,
his compassion has no end,
cross over the road!

Pamela Verrall

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 13

Although the garden lacked colour at the end of May this year, it will be a riot of colour when The Queen is in residence throughout August and September.

The following song should help identify some of them - sorry it is not a Scottish Country Garden!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 12

Not all the pot plants are destined for rooms in the Castle. These plants will remain in the greenhouses, but are sure to get appreciated by Her Majesty on her daily walk (weather permitting) though the Castle Gardens.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 11

The gardeners are also busy inside the greenhouses growing on potted plants. These plants will adorn the rooms inside the Castle when Her Majesty is in residence (later in the summer). They look very healthy!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 10

The gardeners are hard at work growing on summer bedding plants. Soon they will be planting them out in flower beds in readiness for Her Majesty's arrival at the end of the month.

These salvias are doing very well!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 9

Here we see the Head Gardener's Cottage at Balmoral - a fine dwelling.

1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.

There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.

2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, Humility. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marygold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
'Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, 'mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless'd be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

Dutch Carol trans. George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 8

Here we see a gardener cutting the lawns...

...and there are plenty of them. I wish I could get such bold stripes on my lawn!

Today is the 13th Anniversary of my Ordination, and in celebration we have John Stanley's Trumpet Voluntary - played by a 12 year old!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In todays Gospel Jesus tells us, 'The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.'

Go forth and tell! O Church of God awake!
God's saving news to all the nations take:
proclaim Christ Jesus, Saviour, Lord and King,
that all the world His worthy praise may sing.

Go forth and tell! God's love embraces all;
he will in grace respond to all who call:
how shall they call if they have never heard
the gracious invitation of his word?

Go forth and tell where still the darkness lies;
in wealth or want, the sinner surely dies:
give us, O Lord, concern of heart and mind.
a love like yours which cares for all mankind.

Go forth and tell! The doors are open wide:
share God's good gifts - let no one be denied;
live out your life as Christ, your Lord, shall choose,
your ransomed powers for his sole glory use.

Go forth and tell! O Church of God, arise!
Go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies;
go till all nations his great name adore
and serve him, Lord and King for evermore.

James Seddon (1915-83)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

St Thomas

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Thomas.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night the Apostles met in fear,
amidst them came their Lord most dear,
and said: 'Peace be unto you here!' Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

When Thomas afterwards had heard
that Jesus had fulfilled his word,
he doubted if it were the Lord. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

'Thomas, behold my side,' saith he,
'my hands, my feet, my body see;
'and doubt not, but believe in me.' Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
he saw the feet, the hands, the side;
'Thou art my Lord and God,' he cried. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Blessèd are they that have not seen,
and yet whose faith hath constant been,
in life eternal they shall reign. Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

O filii et filiae, Jean Tisserand (d. 1494);
trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Happy Feast!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 7

One of the glories of Balmoral is the lovely gardens. The Head Gardener certainly likes things well-organised!

If you click on the photo below, you will discover some interesting facts about the gardens.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Balmoral Castle - 6

It is well known that The Queen is very fond of horse-riding, and that she still enjoys going for a gentle trot in the countryside - at the age of 84.

Her Majesty has plenty of horses to choose from at Balmoral, and here we see some fine creatures ready to be put into Royal Service.

These three ponies are only a fraction of the number of horses kept in the Royal Mews at the side of Buckingham Palace. The following video clip shows them rehearsing for The Queen's Birthday Parade in London.