Monday, 30 April 2012

Easter Garden - 7

Here we see some splendid pear blossom.

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise him, Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them his glory also show:
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

4th Sunday of Easter

In the gospel today, we hear Jesus tell us: 'I am the good shepherd.' He reminds us that we should listen to his voice.

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.

Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear so calm and plain
his own "All hail!" and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.

Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth her song begin!
The round world keep high triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Easter Garden - 6

Here we see some cheerful tulips.

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.'

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

Walking in 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.'

Friday, 27 April 2012

Easter Garden - 5

Here we see a nice display of narcissi.

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

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

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Easter Garden - 4

Here we see some plum blossom.

Daily the loveliness grows,
adorned with the glory of blossom;
Green is the woodland with leaves,
bright are the meadows with flowers.

I have a plum tree in my own garden - it too has been covered in blossom!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Easter Garden - 3

Today we include some red tulips in honour of St Mark.

The Saint who first found grace to pen
The Life which was the Life of men,
And shed abroad the Gospel’s ray,
His fame we celebrate today.

Lo, drawn by Pentecostal fire,
His heart conceived its great desire,
When pure of mind, inspired, he heard
And with his hand set forth the Word.

Then, clearly writ, the Godhead shone
Serene and fair to look upon;
And through that record still comes power
To lighten souls in death’s dark hour.

O holy mind, for wisdom fit
Wherein that Life of lives stood writ,
May we through minds of like accord
Show forth the patterns of our Lord.

And so may all whose minds are dark
Be led to truth by good Saint Mark,
And after this our earthly strife
Stand written in the Book of Life.

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Easter Garden - 2

Here we see two lovely pots of hyacinths and tulips at Harlow Carr Gardens.

Lo, the fair beauty of earth,
from the death of the winter arising,
Every good gift of the year,
now with its Master returns.

Easter is such a wonderful season of the year!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Easter Garden - 1

Recently I enjoyed a few days break in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. During my stay I visited the famous RHS Garden at Harlow Carr and enjoyed the Easter display of bulbs.

Kindly spring again is here,
trees and fields in bloom appear;
hark! the birds with artless lays
warble their Creator's praise.

Where in winter all was snow,
now the flowers in clusters grow;
and the corn, in green array,
promises a harvest-day.

Lord, afford a spring to me,
let me feel what I see;
speak, and by thy gracious voice,
make my drooping soul rejoice.

On thy garden deign to smile,
raise the plants, enrich the soil;
soon thy presence will restore
life to what seemed dead before.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

3rd Sunday of Easter

The gospel today begins with the disciples telling their story of what had happened on the road to Emmaus and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

Refrain: Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day that art hallowed forever;
day wherein Christ arose,
breaking the kingdom of death.

Lo, the fair beauty of earth,
from the death of the winter arising,
every good gift of the year
now with its Master returns. Refrain

He who was nailed to the Cross
is God and the Ruler of all things;
all things created on earth
worship the Maker of all. Refrain

God of all pity and power,
let thy word be assured to the doubting;
light on the third day returns:
rise, Son of God, from the tomb! Refrain

Ill doth it seem that thy limbs
should linger in lowly dishonour;
ransom and price of the world,
veiled from the vision of men. Refrain

Loosen, O Lord, the enchained,
the spirits imprisoned in darkness;
rescue, recall into life those
who are rushing to death. Refrain

Ill it beseemeth that thou,
by whose hand all things are encompassed,
captive and bound shouldst remain,
deep in the gloom of the rock. Refrain

Rise now, O Lord, from the grave
and cast off the shroud that enwrapped thee;
thou art sufficient for us;
nothing without thee exists. Refrain

Mourning they laid thee to rest,
who art Author of life and creation;
treading the pathway of death,
life thou bestowedst on man. Refrain

Show us thy face once more,
that the ages may joy in thy brightness;
give us the light of day,
darkened on earth at thy death. Refrain

Out of the prison of death
thou art rescuing numberless captives;
freely they tread in the way
whither their Maker has gone. Refrain

Jesus has harrowed hell;
he had led captivity captive;
darkness and chaos and death
flee from the face of the light. Refrain

We shall be visiting the Easter Garden tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

86th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth was born 86 years ago today, on 21 April 1926. This blog sends loyal greetings and wishes Her Majesty many happy returns of the day.

Let us use a prayer written especially for this Diamond Jubilee year.

Great God,
whose Son Jesus looks after us,
we thank you for our wonderful Queen. At this special time of Jubilee,
please give her love, joy and peace
as she does what you ask her to do
and looks after us her people;
through Jesus Christ who loves us all. Amen.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Taste of Scotland - 30

For those of you on a more limited budget, might I suggest a bottle of whisky from the Orcadian Series Vintage 1970. This is available for a mere £2,300 a bottle.

Highland Park has launched in September 2010 the third bottling in its Orcadian Vintage Series – the 1970 Vintage.

Specifically chosen by Whisky Maker Max McFarlane, the whisky has been drawn from seven casks laid down with new make spirit in 1970. All were refill casks comprising both butts and hogsheads and yielded just 1,800 bottles at a natural strength of 48% abv.

According to Max “The bottling bursts with aromas of caramelised pineapple and lemon peel as well as Highland Park’s trademark balance of aromatic peat and heather honey sweetness. At natural strength it has an intriguing mix of vanilla and coriander seeds but a drop of water brings hidden peat smoke and cedar wood to the top. This single malt has a satisfyingly long, sweet and spicy flavour that hangs on the palate.”


Rich, burnished gold still with great clarity and brightness.
Unreduced, the 1970 Vintage has Highland Park’s signature honey sweetness. A burst of caramelised pineapple is followed by a citrus kick. Water reveals sweet oak notes, followed by nasturtium petals and woodsmoke.
At natural strength, an intriguing mix of vanilla and coriander seeds. With water, hidden toasted peat smoke and cedar wood emerge.
Exceptionally long, sweet and spicy.

The Transalpine Redemptorists who live on nearby Papa Stronsay are renowned for smiling so much of the time. Most people assume this is due to a generous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that in reality it is due to a generous inpouring of another spirit - Highland Park Whisky? I will leave you to decide!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Taste of Scotland - 29

This is what you get for your £10,000!

Well, I suppose you will now want a few tasting notes to help you make the most of your outlay.

Clear and bright with burnished mahogany hues.

Complex and multi-layered; dusty wood and old tobacco pouch at first. Slowly the emphasis moves to fruit and spices; cooked damsons, raisins and nutmeg are all prevalent.

At full strength, it is rich and spicy with excellent tannins and notes of muscovado sugar to the fore with a hint of wax. When reduced, orange peel, camphor and cloves emerge.

Long and very spicy, slightly smoky remnants.

In these hard times, I suggest that as an economy measure you mix your bottle of Highland Park 50 Year Old Whisky with a litre bottle of Firey Irn Bru.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Taste of Scotland - 28

Highland Park 50 Year Old is the distillery’s oldest and most prestigious release. Only 275 bottles of this remarkable Limited Edition are available. It is a vatting of five casks distilled in 1960. Like all Highland Park, the 50 year old has been cask-harmonised, that is to say, refilled into casks upon reaching maturity in order to ensure perfect balance and consistency.

To ensure the full impact of the rich, complex flavours that come from a lifetime of maturation, Highland Park 50 Year Old has been bottled at 44.8% abv.

Inspired by the elemental forces of Orkney, each bottle is hand-crafted from sterling silver and designed by Maeve Gillies, an internationally-renowned designer of engagement rings and bridal jewellery based in New York. Maeve is also a ‘Global Scot’, a business ambassador for Scotland. Her design for Highland Park 50 Year Old celebrates Orkney; in particular the influence of the sea, wild weather and the passage of time.

Price - £10,000 for a 70 ml bottle!

- that is not a typing mistake!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Taste of Scotland - 27

Highland Park is Scotland’s northernmost whisky distillery, lying just to the North-east of fellow Orcadian, Scapa. Orkney is a rugged, beautiful island and the Highland Park distillery sits on a hillside near Kirkwall. Not far are sweeping plains of barley field and the rocky outcrops which protrude ominously from the ground. The sea beats the coast; her salty air and the island’s geology contribute to the rich character of Highland Park single malts. The distillery draws its water from the mineral rich springs to the east of the distillery as well as the Crantit Spring.

Highland Park was founded in 1798, by David Robertson on what was once the site of Magnus Eunson's cottage. Eunson was not only a beadle at the local church but also a notorious smuggler. Highland Park was officially licensed in 1826. After James Borwick inherited the distillery in 1869, the production at Highland Park was slowed; James was a priest and believed that whisky production contradicted with his religious status. Accordingly, in 1876 Stuart and Mackay moved in and dramatically helped sales through overseas exportation.

In 1895, James Grant of Glenlivet fame acquired the Highland Park distillery. Three years later he installed further stills, bringing the total to four. One of the few Scotch whisky distilleries to operate onsite floor maltings, Highland Park’s weekly malted barley production of 35 tonnes supplies twenty percent of its own malt requirements, the remainder is shipped in from Simpson’s and Edrington’s maltings respectively. £18 million was spent relaunching the brand; the range was repackaged and remarketed and the buildings were extensively renovated. Highland Park’s future is bright having recently overtaken Islay giant Lagavulin in terms of sales.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Taste of Scotland - 26

We pick up once more our occasional series on the food and drink of Scotland. This time, we consider a product which is quite suitable (in moderation, and for adults only) during this Easter season.

Abundantly rich in heritage, the Orkney Islands have been inhabited for over 5,500 years. Each successive culture has added to the legacy of Orkney. This legacy encompasses remarkable Neolithic sites, haunting wartime remains and stunning listed buildings. The Islands offer an unspoilt environment of breathtaking beauty and clarity.

The Orcadians are justifiably proud of their history, dialect and traditions; traditions which, since 1798, include Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky. Highland Park is happy to reciprocate; they are proud of their Orcadian roots.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Low Sunday

O sons and daughters, let us sing!
The King of Heaven, the glorious King,
Over death today rose triumphing.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

An angel clad in white they see,
Who sat, and spake unto the three,
“Your Lord doth go to Galilee.”
Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night th’apostles met in fear;
Amidst them came their Lord most dear,
And said, “My peace be on all here.”
Alleluia! Alleluia!

When Thomas first the tidings heard,
How they had seen the risen Lord,
He doubted the disciples’ word.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

“My piercèd side, O Thomas, see;
My hands, My feet, I show to thee;
Not faithless but believing be.”
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!

How blessed are they who have not seen,
And yet whose faith has constant been;
For they eternal life shall win.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days
Our hearts and voices, Lord, we raise
To Thee, in jubilee and praise.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Easter Saturday

Go in peace, alleluia, alleluia.

Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Easter Friday

Good Christian men, rejoice and sing!
Now is the triumph of our King!
To all the world glad news we bring:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The Lord of life is risen today!
Sing songs of praise along his way;
let all the earth rejoice and say:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Praise we in songs of victory
that love, that life which cannot die,
and sing with hearts uplifted high:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Your name we bless, O risen Lord,
and sing today with one accord
the life laid down, the life restored:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter Thursday

The whole bright world rejoices now,
The birds sing out on every bough;
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Then shout beneath the racing skies
To him who rose that we may rise:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Let us rejoice! All shall be well,
Friends severed now, in heaven shall dwell:
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
The end of all our ways is love;
Then rise with him to things above:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Now let all living things rejoice,
Let young and old lift heart and voice:
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
He rose to cheer us on our ways,
He lives to bless us all our days:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Wednesday

Christ the Lord is risen again!
Christ hath broken every chain!
Hark! angelic voices cry,
singing evermore on high,

He who gave for us his life,
who for us endured the strife,
is our Paschal Lamb today;
we too sing for joy, and say:

He who bore all pain and loss
comfortless upon the cross
lives in glory now on high,
pleads for us, and hears our cry;

He who slumbered in the grave
is exalted now to save;
through the universe it rings
that the Lamb is King of kings:

Now he bids us tell abroad
how the lost may be restored,
how the penitent forgiven,
how we too may enter heaven.

Thou, our Paschal Lamb indeed,
Christ, thy ransomed people feed;
take our sins and guilt away,
that we all may sing for aye

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter Tuesday

Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heaven and voices raise:
sing to God a hymn of gladness,
sing to God a hymn of praise.
He, who on the cross a victim,
for the world's salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the King of glory,
now is risen from the dead.

Now the iron bars are broken,
Christ from death to life is born,
glorious life, and life immortal,
on this holy Easter morn.
Christ has triumphed, and we conquer
by his mighty enterprise:
we with him to life eternal
by his resurrection rise.

Christ is risen, Christ, the first fruits
of the holy harvest field,
which will all its full abundance
at his second coming yield:
then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before him wave,
ripened by his glorious sunshine
from the furrows of the grave.

Christ is risen, we are risen!
Shed upon us heavenly grace,
rain and dew and gleams of glory
from the brightness of thy face;
that we, with our hearts in heaven,
here on earth may fruitful be,
and by angel hands be gathered,
and be ever, Lord, with thee.

Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to God on high;
Alleluia! to the Saviour
who has gained the victory;
Alleluia! to the Spirit,
fount of love and sanctity:
Alleluia, alleluia!
to the Triune Majesty.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Monday

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The strife is o'er, the battle done,
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed:
let shout of holy joy outburst.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The three sad days are quickly sped,
he rises glorious from the dead:
all glory to our risen Head!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
He closed the yawning gates of hell,
the bars from heaven's high portals fell;
let hymns of praise his triumphs tell!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Lord! by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death's dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!

But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Holy Saturday

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise;
In all His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways.

O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh against the foe,
Should strive and should prevail.

And that a higher gift than grace
Should flesh and blood refine,
God’s Presence and His very Self,
And Essence all divine.

O generous love! that He, who smote,
In Man for man the foe,
The double agony in Man
For man should undergo.

And in the garden secretly,
And on the Cross on high,
Should teach His brethren, and inspire
To suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be praise;
In all His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday

There is a green hill far away,
outside a city wall,
where our dear Lord was crucified
who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
what pains he had to bear,
but we believe it was for us
he hung and suffered there.

He died that we might be forgiven,
he died to make us good,
that we might go at last to heaven,
saved by his precious blood.

There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin,
he only could unlock the gate
of heaven and let us in.

O dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
and trust in his redeeming blood,
and try his works to do.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Maundy Thursday

Of the glorious Body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing,
and the Blood, all price excelling,
which the world's eternal King,
in a noble womb once dwelling
shed for the world's ransoming.

Given for us, for us descending,
of a Virgin to proceed,
man with man in converse blending,
scattered he the Gospel seed,
till his sojourn drew to ending,
which he closed in wondrous deed.

At the last great Supper lying
circled by his brethren's band,
meekly with the law complying,
first he finished its command
then, immortal Food supplying,
gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
very bread his Flesh to be;
man in wine Christ's Blood partaketh:
and if senses fail to see,
faith alone the true heart waketh
to behold the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
this great Sacrament revere;
types and shadows have their ending,
for the newer rite is here;
faith, our outward sense befriending,
makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
to the Father and the Son;
honour, might and praise addressing,
while eternal ages run;
ever too his love confessing,
who, from both, with both is one. Amen

Here we see Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Maundy Service held in York Minster earlier today.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 33

We end our Lenten Pilgrimage in Wigtownshire.

"WIGTOWNSHIRE, a maritime county in the SW extremity of Scotland, forms the W division of Galloway, and contains the most southernly land in Scotland. It is bounded on the N partly by the mouth of the Firth of Clyde, but chiefly by Ayrshire, E by Kirkcudbrightshire, S by the Irish Sea, and W by the Irish Channel....

...The interior is divided into three great districts. The peninsula, or rather the double peninsula, W of Loch Ryan and Luce Bay, is known as the Rhinns of Galloway; the district which forms the broad-based triangular peninsula between Luce Bay and Wigtown Bay is called the Machers; while the rest of the county, N of the Machers and E of Loch Ryan, bears the loose general name of the Moors...

...The streams of Wigtownshire are very numerous, but for the most part of short course and unimportant size. The chief is the Cree, which for 21 and a half miles forms the boundaries between Kirkcudbright and Wigtown shires, just before it enters Wigtown Bay at Creetown....

...Wigtownshire is almost exclusively an agricultural and grazing county, its manufacture and commerce, and mining being but of little importance...

...The royal burghs in the county are Wigtown, Stranraer, and Whithorn; the burghs of barony are Newton Stewart, Glenluce, and Portpatrick..."

from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by Francis H. Groome, 1885

Time for our hymn.

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

Tomorrow we start our celebration of the Sacred Triduum.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 32

Today we are in West Lothian (Linlithgowshire).

"LINLITHGOWSHIRE, (or West Lothian), maritime Co. in SE. of Scotland; is bounded N. by Firth of Forth, SE. by Edinburghshire, and W. by Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire; greatest length, NE. and SW., 19 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 14 miles; area, 76,806 ac., pop. 43,510. The coast is low; the surface is varied, but there are few hills of any height; the chief rivers are the Avon on the W. and the Almond on the E. border. Much of the soil is fertile, and agriculture is in an advanced condition. Linlithgowshire is one of the richest mineral counties in Scotland, coal, shales, ironstone, freestone, limestone, &c... being very abundant. Paraffin oil is largely manufactured at Bathgate, Broxburn, and Uphall. The co. contains 12 pars. and 2 parts, the parl. and royal burghs of Linlithgow (Falkirk Burghs) and Queensferry (Stirling Burghs), and the police burghs of Armadale, Bathgate, Borrowstounness, and Whitburn. It returns 1 member."

Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887

Time for our hymn.

It is a thing most wonderful,
almost too wonderful to be,
that God's own Son should come from heaven,
and die to save a child like me.

And yet I know that it is true:
he chose a poor and humble lot,
and wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died,
for love of those who loved him not.

I cannot tell how he would love
a child so weak and full of sin;
his love must be most wonderful,
if he could die my love to win.

I sometimes think about the cross,
and shut my eyes, and try to see
the cruel nails and crown of thorns
and Jesus crucified for me.

But even could I see him die,
I could but see a little part
of that great love, which, like a fire,
is always burning in his heart.

It is most wonderful to know
his love for me so free and sure;
but 'tis more wonderful to see
my love for him so faint and poor.

And yet I want to love thee, Lord;
O light the flame within my heart,
and I will love thee more and more,
until I see thee as thou art.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 31

Today we are in Sutherland.

"SUTHERLAND, in the extreme N. of Scotland; is bounded W. and N. by the Atlantic Ocean, E. by Caithness and the Moray Firth, and S. by the Dornoch Firth and Ross and Cromarty; greatest length, NW. and SE., 63 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 60 miles; area, 1,297,846 ac.. pop. 23,370. The N. and NW. coasts are bold and rocky, some of the cliff scenery being remarkably grand, but along the Moray Firth the ground is generally low and sandy. The surface consists chiefly of mountainous moorland, varied by numerous straths or narrow valleys which open towards the sea. The highest summit is Ben More Assynt, alt 3273 ft. The principal streams are the Oykell, Brora, Helmsdale, Halladale, Naver, and Hope. Of numerous lochs the largest are Lochs Shin, Assynt, Naver, Laoghal, Hope, and More. The angling in the lochs and streams is good, especially for trout. The coast fisheries are considerable. The amount of arable land is comparatively very small. There are extensive deer forests, and sheep are grazed in great numbers. The co. comprises 13 pars. with part of 1 other, and the parl. burgh of Dornoch (part of the Wick District of Burghs). It returns 1 member to Parliament.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Who is this with garments gory,
Triumphing from Bozrah’s way;
This that weareth robes of glory,
Bright with more than victory’s ray?
Who is this unwearied comer
From his journey’s sultry length,
Traveling through Idumè’s summer
In the greatness of his strength?

Wherefore red in thine apparel
Like the conquerors of the earth,
And arrayed like those who carol
O’er the reeking vineyard’s mirth?
Who art thou, the valleys seeking
Where our peaceful harvests wave?
“I, in righteous anger speaking,
I, the mighty One to save.”

“I, that of the raging heathen
Trod the winepress all alone,
Now in victor garlands wreathen
Coming to redeem Mine own:
I am He with sprinkled raiment,
Glorious for My vengeance hour,
Ransoming, with priceless payment,
And delivering with power.”

Hail! All hail! Thou Lord of Glory!
Thee, our Father, Thee we own;
Abraham heard not of our story,
Israel ne’er our Name hath known.
But, Redeemer, Thou hast sought us,
Thou hast heard Thy children’s wail,
Thou with Thy dear blood hast bought us:
Hail! Thou mighty Victor, hail!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Palm Sunday

Today marks the start of our annual Holy Week celebration.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes hosanna cry;
O Saviour meek, pursue thy road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
o'er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The angel-squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne
expects his own anointed Son.

Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow thy meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, thy power, and reign.

Happy Sunday!