Saturday, 30 November 2013

St Andrew's Day

As winter descends on the Highlands, we visit St Andrew's Cathedral Inverness as the congregation celebrate their Patronal Festival. There will be Sung Eucharist at 7.30 pm followed by a fish and chip supper in the Old Boys School.

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 th’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!

Happy Feast!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Fort George - 16

We conclude our visit to Fort George as these two Roman soldiers prepare their meal.

All is well until you spot the two beef burgers in the pan - the burger buns, and the tomato ketchup in the jug. I think the Army could do with a new historical adviser!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Fort George - 15

I was quite impressed with this scene of an army kitchen during Tudor times - plenty of fresh ingredients here.

Here is a fascinating video of a Tudor Feast - enjoy!

I don't think army food was quite up to this standard!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fort George - 14

Feeding the army is hard work! The cook is a highly valued member of the squad.

Here is what four current soldiers have to say about modern Army food:

Corporal Paul Whiting: Depending on where you are, some people will have a cookhouse so they’ll have fresh food every day, ie Bastion and Kandahar. If you’re in a FOB you’ll be either on a 10-Man Ration Pack or a 24-Hour Ration Pack, so you’ll be eating out of a packet – sausage and beans, bacon and beans, all-day breakfast, rice pudding, cereal bars, fruit, raisins and a little Fruit Shoot juice drink.

Private Shaun Teale: We had 24-Hour Rations and on the odd occasion we had a 10-Man Ration Pack so we’d make shepherds pie, cakes and stuff like that, just for a bit of morale. Food-wise you’re allowed to take anything out because it’s a bit of morale, but in Camp Bastion there’s a NAAFI anyway so you can buy all sweets and pop and stuff like that.

Lieutenant Alec Hammond: The meals that my guys were eating out on the ground completely vary from the ones in the UK. The rations are completely different in theatre than the ones we have over here, so the variation in meals is good. Obviously there’s the menus – the set menus – that the Army has; there’s a lot of pasta and rice in them now which is a great improvement from what we had before – it used to just be steak and veg all the time I think. There’s no corned beef hash, which everyone hates!

Lance Corporal Dave Pugh: Within Kandahar there’s 4 cookhouses so you’ve got loads of different variety – fries, burgers, all your different pastas. You can get quite a good diet out there. But you’ve also got the fast food, you’ve got Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Tim Hortons so you can get fat and donuts as well!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Fort George - 13

On the menu today we have wartime cottage pie.


1 lb mince beef ( note a weeks ration of mince beef for one person was about 1/2 lb )
several large potatoes
2 oz cheese
dried herbs (Rosemary & Thyme work well)
salt and pepper
beef stock like bovril ( 1 pint or more)
bisto gravy powder
peas and finely chopped carrots and onion
blob butter or margarine


Brown the mince
Add the chopped vegetables
Add salt and pepper and herbs
Add beef stock, stir and simmer for 15 minutes (thickening towards the end by mixing bisto powder with a little cold water to a runny paste and adding to beef stirring all the time- beef sauce should be quite thick!)
Meanwhile chop up all the potatoes into small chunks
Place in salted hot water and bring to the boil until tender and drain.
Mash with generous blobs of butter or margarine, add salt and pepper to taste
Finally add milk so mash is spreadable
Place beef sauce in a small cooking tray with deep sides or shallow casserole dish
Pipe or spread mashed potato on top
Sprinkle with 2 oz of grated strong cheddar and some dried herbs
Place in oven until cooked and the top is brown

Remember - an army marches on its stomach!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Fort George - 12

These woodburning cooking stoves are splendid pieces of apparatus. I have one in my conservatory, though I use it for heating rather than cooking. I was unable to discover who manufactured these stoves at Fort George, but my stove is a Dunsley Highlander 5.

For many years Dunsley dealt mainly in the manufacture of solid fuel open fires, boilers and gas fires, however as tastes change and needs evolve we have recognised this fact and created two different types of Multi-fuel and Woodburning Stoves.

The Highlander range of Stoves includes the Highlander 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10 and the Yorkshire stove which has been recognised as a market leader in its use of 'Clean burn' technology.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Feast of Christ the King (34th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

In our Eucharist today, we celebrate the Feast of The Bonnie Prince - Christ our anointed King, who overcame suffering and death and so brought us out of darkness into his kingdom of light.

The permission to depict The Bonnie Prince in the Royal Stuart tartan was graciously accorded by the Earl of Moray. The portrait was commissioned by the Transalpine Redemptorists who live on Papa Stronsay and was skilfully painted by the Catholic artist Mr. Anthony VanArsdale.

Here is a lovely meditation by the Transalpine Redemptorists:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings, The Bonnie Prince, blesses you from the Stone of Destiny, the crowning place of kings. He wears the Royal tartan and His holy person is framed by the ancient Banner. Jesus is The Bonnie Prince; the Fairest of the Children of men; of Whose kingdom there shall be no end. As your Infant King He seeks to win your heart to Himself. Look upon his wounded hands and little feet. Behold His Heart that has loved you so much. Stand beneath His banner, worship Him as God and do Him homage. By Homage you declare that: He is your Lord; you are His servant and friend; and you promise to remain with Him in loyalty, love and perpetual fidelity.

All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine,
didst yield the glory that of right was thine,
that in our troubled hearts thy grace might shine:

Thou cam'st to us in lowliness of thought;
by thee the outcast and the poor were sought,
and by thy death was God's salvation wrought:

Let this mind be in us which was in thee,
who wast a servant that we might be free,
humbling thyself to death on Calvary:

Wherefore, by God's eternal purpose
thou, art high exalted, o'er all creatures now,
and given the name to which all knees shall bow:

Let every tongue confess with one accord
in heaven and earth that Jesus Christ is Lord;
and God eternal be by all adored:

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Fort George - 11

Here we see lunch being prepared in a World War II Field Kitchen.

The first cooker adopted by the British Army after demonstrations of the prototypes by Alex Soyer to the British Army in Crimea. They have been used continually until the 1980's when the vast majority of the British Army stock was lost in the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor during the Falklands War.

Capable of boiling 12 gallons of liquid using any available solid fuel they are simple and efficient. The original specification was that two, together with wood for fuel could be carried by a mule.

The Soyer was adopted as standard by the Civil Defence organisation during World War II and examples staffed by the Woman’s Voluntary Service were used to provide emergency food in the bombed areas during the Blitz. After World War II large numbers were put into storage in the event of a nuclear attack.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Fort George - 10

Here we see a recruitment station for important service including the Home Guard.

The Home Guard (initially "Local Defence Volunteers" or LDV) was a defence organisation of the British Army during the Second World War. Operational from 1940 until 1944, the Home Guard – comprising 1.5 million local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, usually owing to age, hence the nickname "Dad's Army" – acted as a secondary defence force, in case of invasion by the forces of Nazi Germany and their allies. The Home Guard guarded the coastal areas of Britain and other important places such as airfields, factories and explosives stores.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Fort George - 9

Here we see a field hospital during World War II.

A field hospital is a large mobile medical unit that temporarily takes care of casualties on-site before they can be safely transported to more permanent hospital facilities. This term is used overwhelmingly with reference to military situations, but may also be used in times of disaster. The concept was inherited from the battlefield (such as the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital or MASH), and is now applied in case of disasters or major accidents, as well as with traditional Military medicine.

This photo reminds us of the need to avoid armed conflict and to arrive at agreement by peaceful means.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fort George - 8

This all took me back to my Boy Scout days!

This is the sort of tent that our Scout Master - The Reverend N Stevens used to have at camp. He was a leading light in Wood Badge training in West Yorkshire.

On the morning of 8 September 1919, 19 men dressed in short trousers and knee socks, their shirt sleeves rolled up, assembled for the first Scoutmasters' training camp at Gilwell Park. The camp was designed and run by Robert Baden-Powell.

Afterwards, Baden-Powell gave each man a simple wooden bead from a necklace he had found in a Zulu chieftain's deserted hut whilst on campaign in South Africa in 1888. The Scoutmasters' training course was a great success, and continued to be held year after year. Wood Badge recipients now number more than 100,000 and can be found in all corners of the world.

The Wood Badge is a Scouting programme and award for adults in the Scout associations around the world. The Wood Badge course is designed so that adult Scouters can learn; in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of Scouting.On completion, participants are awarded the beads to recognize their significant achievement in leadership and direct service to young people, and to welcome them to membership of the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group.

Although the programme has changed over the years, the essence of the original Wood Badge still remains. Adults use their new and existing knowledge and skills to complete training, which is designed to strengthen the individual and the quality of Scouting they can provide to young people.

I successfully completed my own Wood Badge training at Crawfordsburn in Northern Ireland in 1986. The main trainer was Mr Maynard Porter.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fort George - 7

I have to express my concerns - this was billed as the 'modern' section. I hope the 'enemy' doesn't see this photo!

The British Army's equipment is constantly being updated and modified using valuable feedback from troops on the ground using the equipment wherever they are in the world.

Specialised trial and development units rigorously test all new enhancements in armoured vehicles, artillery, infantry equipment and clothing, making sure we have the very best available. Supplementing the Ministry of Defence's long-term, planned equipment programme are Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR), which provide fast equipment solutions for operations.

Some of the latest equipment is use in Afghanistan, delivered as UOR, includes the Supacat M-WMIK 'Jackal' vehicle, the heavily protected Mastiff and Ridgback vehicles, Foxhound protected patrol vehicle, grenade machine guns, underslung grenade launchers, mortar systems, and state-of-the-art personal equipment.

I have the feeling that none of this was on display at Fort George!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Fort George - 6

Not everyone I met at Fort George seemed all that friendly.

I realise there have been cut backs in defence spending, but surely the modern British Army should be more up to date than this!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

The theme of our Eucharist today is The Triumph of God. The day is coming when all that is evil will be brought to nothing. Already Christ has given us the strength to overcome evil: we receive it in the Eucharist.

Soul of my Saviour sanctify my breast,
Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest,
Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide,
wash me with waters gushing from thy side.

Strength and protection may thy passion be,
O blessèd Jesus, hear and answer me;
deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me,
so shall I never, never part from thee.

Guard and defend me from the foe malign,
in death's dread moments make me only thine;
call me and bid me come to thee on high
where I may praise thee with thy saints for aye.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Fort George - 5

Sadly, not everyone seemed in the best of health when I visited Fort George. This lady clearly needed medical attention - but none was available.

We take for granted so many of the recent advances in public health and the work of the National Health Service - which started in 1948. Life expectancy at birth is still rising at an impressive rate.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fort George - 4

This young army cadet was certainly enjoying himself demonstrating some of the latest weaponry, but life can be tough for a regular soldier.

3 SCOTS are a light infantry battalion which forms one of seven battalions within The Royal Regiment of Scotland. Based at Fort George near Inverness, we currently form part of 19 Light Brigade and have recently returned from Helmand Province in support of Op HERRICK 15. This was our second tour of Afghanistan, the first being Op HERRICK 10 in 2009.

The Battalion traces its roots from The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) and has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1739. The Black Watch gained a number of battle honours throughout this time, and has fought in major battles from the Peninsular War to the Iraq War.

During our first tour of Afghanistan, 3 SCOTS were deployed in an air assault role based in Kandahar. We mounted a number of air assault operations into known enemy strongholds. As part of Operation PANTHERS CLAW, the soldiers of the Battalion famously seized crossing points across the Nahr-e-Burgha canal and the Shamalan canal after a number of combat engagements.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fort George - 3

Although many find Fort George a rather severe sort of place, it does host some more light-hearted events during the year.

Here is as photo taken at the family fun day held in August. Although not obvious in this picture, the hills in the background are on the Black Isle, which is separated from Fort George by the Moray Firth.

Members of the British Army clearly enjoy the festive atmosphere at this type of event. I sat down at this spot and enjoyed a most delicious bacon roll that I had purchased - the soldiers are certainly well-fed!

On a slightly different note, I am sure that loyal readers of this blog will want to wish HRH Prince Charles a very happy 65th birthday.

God bless The Prince of Wales!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Fort George - 2

Fort George is quite simply the finest example of 18th-century military engineering you’ll find anywhere in the British Isles. This vast garrison fortress was begun in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden (1746), which crushed the final Jacobite Rising. It took over 20 years to complete and in the event it was never attacked. It remains virtually unaltered today, and still serves as an important military base.

The Jacobite Rising of 1745–6 proved to be the last attempt by the Stewart dynasty to regain the British throne from the Hanoverians. Following Culloden, fought just 8 miles (12km) from Fort George, the government introduced ruthless measures to prevent such a Rising happening again. Fort George was one of them, named after King George II (1727–60).

It was designed as the main garrison fortress in the Scottish Highlands, holding two field battalions and staff officers (some 2,000 men) and an awesome armament of over 80 guns. Lieutenant-General William Skinner was the designer and first governor of Fort George. He mapped out a complex and fascinating interplay of ramparts and massive bastions, ditches and firing steps. The defences were heavily concentrated on the landward side of the promontory, from where an anticipated Jacobite assault would come. The remaining seaward sides were protected by long stretches of rampart and smaller bastions.

Internally, Skinner provided all the buildings required by the large garrison – houses for the governor, deputy-governor and fort-major, blocks for the staff officers and the gunners, two enormous piles of barracks, ordnance and provision stores, powder magazines, workshops and – as an afterthought – a chapel. All are still there, largely as they were built.

Fort George never fired a shot in anger. Later in the 18th century, after the Jacobite threat had evaporated, the fort became a recruiting base and training camp for the rapidly expanding British Army. Many a Highland lad passed through its gates on his way to fight for the British Empire across the globe. Between 1881 and 1964 the fort served as the depot of the Seaforth Highlanders. The regimental museum of the Highlanders (Seaforths & Camerons) is there today. So is the British Army.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Fort George - 1

Following on from Armistice Day, let's visit Fort George (which is located less than 10 miles from my home).

Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George II created the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest. The result, Fort George, is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe.

Its garrison buildings, artillery defences bristling with cannon, and superb collection of arms – including bayoneted muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches – provide a fascinating insight into 18th century military life.

Positioned strategically on a promontory jutting into the Moray Firth, Fort George was intended as an impregnable army base – designed on a monumental scale using sophisticated defence standards. Today, it would cost nearly £1 billion. Within almost a mile of boundary walls was accommodation for a governor, officers, artillery detachment, and a 1600-strong infantry garrison. It also housed a magazine for 2,500 gunpowder barrels, ordnance and provision stores, a brewhouse and chapel.

When the fortress was completed in 1769, the Highlands were peaceful but it was maintained in readiness for action that never came, and has remained virtually unaltered. Visitors today can see historic barrack rooms which are a time capsule of the domestic life of the Scottish soldier.

Fort George is the only ancient monument in Scotland still functioning as intended – a working army barracks - but still welcoming visitors. A gift shop and café (seasonal) are among the attractions. The Regimental Museum of the Highlanders is found at the property, while dolphins can often be seen from the ramparts. There is also a summer events programme.

Monday, 11 November 2013

11th Day of the 11th Month

Here we see Her Majesty The Queen laying her wreath at the Cenotaph in London.

At the first stroke of the 11th hour please do your best to keep silence for 2 minutes.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The silence over, before we pray for God's blessing, perhaps you would like to join me in singing the following hymn :

O valiant hearts who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.

Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war
As who had heard God's message from afar;
All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,
To save mankind — yourselves you scorned to save.

Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
Into the light that nevermore shall fade;
Deep your contentment in that blest abode,
Who wait the last clear trumpet call of God.

Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
Rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,
While in the frailty of our human clay,
Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self same way.

Still stands His Cross from that dread hour to this,
Like some bright star above the dark abyss;
Still, through the veil, the Victor's pitying eyes
Look down to bless our lesser Calvaries.

These were His servants, in His steps they trod,
Following through death the martyred Son of God:
Victor, He rose; victorious too shall rise
They who have drunk His cup of sacrifice.

O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead,
Whose cross has bought them and Whose staff has led,
In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land
Commits her children to Thy gracious hand.

God grant to the living grace,
to the departed rest,
to the Church, the Queen, the
Commonwealth and all people,
unity, peace and concord,
and to us and all God’s servants,
life everlasting.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us
and remain with us always. AMEN.

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the Name of Christ. Amen.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remembrance Sunday

Here we see the scene at the Cenotaph in London.

Our 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.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 10

The entrance to Bettys is very understated - it is very posh inside!

Carols by Candlelight

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a sumptuous meal at Bettys, while listening to some of the region’s most beautiful voices?

A three-course set meal will be served followed by tea or coffee with handmade chocolates.

Location: Bettys Harlow Carr
Address: Crag Lane, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, HG3 1QB
Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Time: 7:30 PM - 10.00 PM
Price: £43.50 per person
Bookings: 01423 505604

Friday, 8 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 9

No trip to Harlow Carr Gardens would be complete without calling in at Bettys Tea Room! The building sits so comfortably alongside the gardens.

Our Café Tea Rooms at the RHS Gardens at Harlow Carr in Harrogate offer all the delights of a visit to Bettys – delicious cakes, dainty pastries, freshly baked bread and of course, the high standards and friendly smiles – but in a very different location.

The 58-acre garden can be found on the south-western outskirts of Harrogate, and is home to peaceful woodland, meadows, flower gardens and seven historical gardens from the BBC series ‘Gardens Through Time’. As it’s located alongside rather than inside, you don’t have to pay to enter the gardens in order to visit Bettys.

In our shop you’ll find an extensive range of breads, cakes and chocolates, all made by hand at Bettys Craft Bakery, as well as a small delicatessen section with cheeses, pastries, salads and soups. For those who want a full menu there's our Café, whilst the Coffee Shop has a range of salads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries for a quick stop or light lunch. The Terrace, overlooking the gardens, must surely be one of the most beautiful locations to take afternoon tea 'al fresco' in Yorkshire... if not the country!

Finally, throughout the summer you’ll also find a Bettys Tea House in the middle of the gardens – the perfect place to buy a sandwich, cake and drink to enjoy as a picnic whilst you explore.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 8

Here we see some lovely Michaelmas daisies.

Asters, or michaelmas daisies, are perennial flowers. You will find garden asters in many sizes and colors. Flowers usually bloom in late summer or fall in clusters, with each blossom from half an inch to several inches wide, on stems six inches to several feet tall. Ray petals are white, blue, deep purple, or pink, and central disks are golden. Many asters are North American natives and grow in wayside places with no care at all.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 7

This photo was not taken yesterday - it was taken 3 weeks ago. My sister who lives close to Harlow Carr Gardens informs me that they have already had a heavy frost and so hopefully the dahlia tubers will now be safely indoors.

Dahlias are invaluable for the summer border, in patio containers or as cut flowers, often flowering until the first frosts. With many excellent recent introductions, they offer a wide range of flower types, often with very showy, double forms in warm vibrant colours. Dahlias are enjoying a much deserved return to popularity.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 6

What a glorious picture - you can almost smell them! Time to make an apple pie.

For the filling

1kg Bramley apples
140g golden caster sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp flour

For the pastry

225g butter, room temperature
50g golden caster sugar, plus extra
2 eggs
350g plain flour, preferably organic
softly whipped cream, to serve
Buy Ingredients


Put a layer of paper towels on a large baking sheet. Quarter, core, peel and slice the apples about 5mm thick and lay evenly on the baking sheet. Put paper towels on top and set aside while you make and chill the pastry.

For the pastry, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until just mixed. Break in a whole egg and a yolk (keep the white for glazing later). Beat together for just under 1 min – it will look a bit like scrambled egg. Now work in the flour with a wooden spoon, a third at a time, until it’s beginning to clump up, then finish gathering it together with your hands. Gently work the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film, and chill for 45 mins. Now mix the 140g/5oz sugar, the cinnamon and flour for the filling in a bowl that is large enough to take the apples later.

After the pastry has chilled, heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Lightly beat the egg white with a fork. Cut off a third of the pastry and keep it wrapped while you roll out the rest, and use this to line a pie tin – 20-22cm round and 4cm deep – leaving a slight overhang. Roll the remaining third to a circle about 28cm in diameter. Pat the apples dry with kitchen paper, and tip them into the bowl with the cinnamon-sugar mix. Give a quick mix with your hands and immediately pile high into the pastry-lined tin.

Brush a little water around the pastry rim and lay the pastry lid over the apples pressing the edges together to seal. Trim the edge with a sharp knife and make 5 little slashes on top of the lid for the steam to escape. (Can be frozen at this stage.) Brush it all with the egg white and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for 40-45 mins, until golden, then remove and let it sit for 5-10 mins. Sprinkle with more sugar and serve while still warm from the oven with softly whipped cream.

If you would rather make an apple crumble, here is Delia to show you how!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 5

Here we see part of the Harvest Festival display at Harlow Carr.

Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are over 7,000 varieties in existence, many of which are grown in Britain but, despite that, only around 12 varieties are commonly sold in UK supermarkets, of which many are imported.

Colours range from red, to yellow and green, but all varieties fall into one of two categories: eating, also sometimes called dessert apples (including Cox's Orange Pippin, Golden Delicious, Granny Smiths, Braeburn, Gala, Pink Lady and Jonagold) or cooking, with the latter being more tart in flavour, a result of their higher levels of malic acid (the best is Bramley, though Blenheim Orange, Grenadier, Reverend W Wilkes and Ida Red are also available). The texture can be very crisp and juicy or more yielding, according to variety.

All apples are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as fibre.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we hear about Jesus staying at the house of Zacchaeus.

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Saviour;
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where earth's failings
have such kind judgement given.
There is plentiful redemption
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the Lord.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Autumn at Harlow Carr - 4

Here we see a most unusual - though very attractive shrub with purple berries.

Beautyberry shrubs grow up to 4 feet tall, with a slightly greater spread. The arching branches bear pinkish to light purple flowers in summer, which mature into their signature light purple berries in autumn (although the albafructus variety produces white berries). The fall foliage of Callicarpa dichotoma is yellow.

This specimen was particularity attractive because the leaves were still basically green - thus showing off the purple berries to best effect.

Friday, 1 November 2013

All Saints' Day

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Happy Feast!