Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Summer in London - 11

I was pleased to see that Her Majesty was catering for Yorkshiremen like myself!

I imagine that fish and chips are not often on the menu at Buckingham Palace. However, I was horrified to find that they were not serving mushy peas. Surely someone should be given a Warrant as Supplier of Mushy Peas to HM Queen Elizabeth II!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Summer in London - 10

My apron acted as a type of 'press pass', and gained me admission to many parts of the grounds before the general public were allowed to enter.

It is amazing how much camaraderie there is between workers at this type of event - I had to turn down a number of invitations to have a free bacon roll!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Summer in London - 9

One of the delights of being at Buckingham Palace in such an official capacity, was being able to wander around the grounds before the 'riff-raff' arrived. Only joking!

Here is the welcome given by Air Marshal Sir David Walker, Master of the Household.

As the Master of The Queen's Household, I would like to welcome you most warmly to the Gardens of Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Festival. I am delighted that the Royal Warrant Holders Association has chosen to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of The Queen's Coronation in this unique way. The event will, I'm sure, prove to be a most memorable one for all those attending, exhibiting and performing. It will showcase an array of endeavour and talent, exemplified by those companies which hold the Royal Warrant.

The Queen very much hopes it will be an enjoyable occasion for you all.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today we are taught The Lord's Prayer.

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Nor for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength, that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not forever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be,
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
Would we idly, quiet stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our Guide;
Through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be Thou at our side.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer in London - 8

Here I am at the main stand for Walkers Shortbread.

A byword for excellence, Walkers Shortbread is a rare exception in the food manufacturing industry, being a traditional family business with a global reputation.

Established by Joseph Walker 100 years ago in the village of Aberlour in Speyside, the company is run by Joseph's grandchildren and great-children, who maintain the tradition of producing the finest shortbreads, oatcakes, cakes and biscuits, to original recipes.

Consumer demand has led to more advanced production methods, yet Walkers products are still baked in small batches using the finest natural ingredients to preserve their classic taste.

Small wonder they have been granted a Royal Warrant - which you can see proudly displayed at the top of this magnificent photo.

A friend who saw this photo said that I appeared to have put on weight. Actually, I'm not sure I had at this stage, although I had eaten lots of free samples of Walkers products just before the photo was taken! However, I dread to think how I must have looked by the end of the day after having free samples of ice cream, coffee, cheese, bread, wine, whisky, gin, bacon, steak, smoked salmon, and chocolate! I probably looked more like Friar Tuck by the time I left the Palace!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Summer in London - 7

Shortly after my arrival at the Palace Gardens I made my way to the Press Office for an in depth interview about The Pilgrims Table.

For some odd reason, none of the National Newspapers wished to see me. I cannot think why! OK, my visit might not have been worthy of front page coverage, but I am sure my photo should have been enshrined somewhere in the pages of The Times and The Daily Telegraph. A pity The Scotsman were not represented in the Press Office.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Summer in London - 6

Sadly, I did not meet HM The Queen, but look at who I bumped into during my walk around the garden!

Among our ancient mountains,
And from our lovely vales,
O! Let the prayer re-echo
God bless the Prince of Wales!

Prince Charles is 1st in line of succession to the throne - being the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. His eldest son is Prince William, whose only son is Prince George (aged 3 days).





Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Summer in London - 5

O ye of little faith!

Here we see His Eminence in the garden of Buckingham Palace photographed with the Sales Director of Walkers Shortbread.

I was attending the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and was representing The Pilgrims Table at St Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness. The Festival was organised by the Royal Warrant Holders Association, of which Walkers Shortbread is a proud member. I am pleased to say that Walkers treated me like royalty - naturally!

One of the Palace Officials complimented me on the fact that my apron matched the chairs and staging. Sadly, I was not taken on as a butler to the Royal Household. Still, I would be happy to swap the apron for a scarlet cassock and act as Chaplain to the Queen. (Hint!)

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a sceptre sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His piercèd feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Summer in London - 4

Well, here we are at Buckingham Palace - the scene of so much jubilation yesterday evening.

However, we can hardly be heading to this garden. Don't be so ridiculous!

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Royal Birth

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace has announced. The baby is third in line to the throne and is likely to be our future King.

The baby was delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz.

The palace said in a statement that the duchess and the baby were "doing well" and would stay in hospital overnight.

The news has been displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition.

A bulletin - signed by the Queen's gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby - was taken by a royal aide from St Mary's to the palace under police escort.

The press release said the Duke of Cambridge (second in line to the throne) was present for the birth.

"The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news," it said.

The Prince of Wales (first in line to the throne) said this evening:

“Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy.

"Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.”

Let us pray.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we hear the familiar story of Jesus paying a visit to the home of Martha and Mary.

Lord Jesus Christ you have come to us
You are one with us, Mary's Son.
Cleansing our souls from all their sin
pouring Your love and goodness in
Jesus our love for you we sing,
living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ now and every day
Teach us how to pray, Son of God.
You have commanded us to do
this in remembrance Lord of you
Into our lives your power breaks through,
living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us
Born as one with us, Mary's Son.
Led out to die on Calvary,
risen from death to set us free,
living Lord Jesus help us see
You are Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ I would come to you
live my life for you, Son of God.
All your commands I know are true,
your many gifts will make me new,
into my life your power breaks through,
living Lord.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer in London - 3

Nearly there...

...but it is obvious that not everyone is going to gain admission to this garden. Many are called, but few are chosen!

There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign,
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.

There everlasting spring abides,
And never withering flowers:
Death, like a narrow sea, divides
This heav’nly land from ours.

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand dressed in living green:
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.

But timorous mortals start and shrink
To cross this narrow sea;
And linger, shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away.

O could we make our doubts remove,
Those gloomy thoughts that rise,
And see the Canaan that we love
With unbeclouded eyes!

Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o’er,
Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore.

To date, two people have guessed correctly where this garden is!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Summer in London - 2

Wherever this garden was...

...everyone seemed to be marching there!

1. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

2. At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

3. Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

4. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.

5. Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Summer in London - 1

On Sunday 14 July I spent almost 7 hours in a very famous garden in Central London.

Any ideas where it was? I took this photo just minutes before I entered the garden.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 17

Here are more photos of the lovely sweet peas growing at Harlow Carr.

What a pity this blog does not include scent!

Well, tomorrow we move to another garden. I wonder where? You are in for a BIG surprise!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 16

These are too grand for peas - no, they are sweet peas!

Sweet peas need support and a screen is a great way of exploiting their natural growing habit while introducing height, colour and scent in one season. Create a screen to separate your vegetable patch or add privacy to a seating area.

Any variety can be used, so work with your favourite colour scheme to create a screen that fits with your garden.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 15

Lupins and poppies - lovely flowers of early summer.

The lupin as we know it would never have come about but for one man - George Russell. This retired gardener from York began breeding them at the age of 54, using two allotments, and finally staged his first exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1938 aged 79.

He died at the grand old age of 94 in 1951 - having become a legend in his own lifetime. Every packet of Russell Lupin seed bore a picture of a twinkly-eyed old man in a grandad shirt - Russell himself - and this tradition carried on for many years.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 14

The gardens are an oasis of peace and refreshment.

The God of love my Shepherd is,
And He that doth me feed;
While He is mine and I am His,
What can I want or need?

He leads me to the tender grass,
Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently pass:
In both I have the best.

Or if I stray, He doth convert,
And bring my mind in frame,
And all this not for my desert,
But for His holy Name.

Yea, in death’s shady black abode
Well may I walk, not fear;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
To guard, Thy staff to bear.

Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove
So neither shall my praise.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 13

Here we see some young lettuce plants growing next to the Sweet William.

I always associate Sweet William's with the 12th July.

Psalm 121

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 12

Here we see part of the herb garden.

It’s almost impossible to grow a bed or pot of herbs that doesn’t look fantastic. They are also very easy to grow.

Like ornamental plants, there are annuals such as basil, coriander, and marjoram; perennials such as mint, fennel and thyme; woody perennials such as rosemary, lavender and sage; or even bulbs such as chives.

You can grow herbs in a formal herb garden, scattered among ornamental plants in a bed or border; or as pot plants on the patio. Keep a few near the back door, they smell great on a hot summer’s day and they’ll be within easy picking reach. They also make great hanging basket plants.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 11

Now it is the turn of the broad beans!

Broad beans are easy to grow and utterly delicious, heralding the end of the hungry gap between late autumn and the beginning of bountiful summer harvests.

Broad beans should be podded, unless they are very young and tender. Put the beans in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out.

To double pod - or remove the thin skin that covers each individual bean - use your nail to slit the skin, then pop out the bright green bean.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 10

Here we see young pea plants. Young, tender peas are one of the delights of early summer.

There’s nothing like the flavour of freshly picked peas. Use them as quickly as possible once picked as they lose their sweetness. Dwarf varieties of peas don’t need much in the way of support. The easiest types to grow are mange tout and sugar snap varieties.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 9

I always enjoy the displays of fruit and vegetables. Here we see some gooseberries..

...and here we see some blackcurrants.

Roll on harvest-time!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today we hear about Jesus sending out the seventy-two others to all the towns and places he himself was to visit.

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
and put your armour on,
strong in the strength which God supplies
through his eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of hosts,
and in his mighty power:
who in the strength of Jesus trusts
is more than conqueror.

Stand then in his great might,
with all his strength endured,
and take, to arm you for the fight,
the panoply of God.

From strength to strength go on,
wrestle and fight and pray:
tread all the powers of darkness down,
and win the well-fought day.

That, having all things done,
and all your conflicts past,
ye may o'ercome through Christ alone,
and stand entire at last.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 8

Talk about home from home - whilst I was visiting Harlow Carr Gardens on holiday, Nessie the Logness Monster was taking a holiday in the Scottish Highlands!

The earliest report of a monster associated with the vicinity of Loch Ness appears in the Life of St. Columba by Adomnán, written in the 7th century.

According to Adomnán, writing about a century after the events he described, the Irish monk Saint Columba was staying in the land of the Picts with his companions when he came across the locals burying a man by the River Ness. They explained that the man had been swimming the river when he was attacked by a "water beast" that had mauled him and dragged him under. They tried to rescue him in a boat, but were able only to drag up his corpse.

Hearing this, Columba stunned the Picts by sending his follower Luigne moccu Min to swim across the river. The beast came after him, but Columba made the sign of the Cross and commanded: "Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once." The beast immediately halted as if it had been "pulled back with ropes" and fled in terror, and both Columba's men and the pagan Picts praised God for the miracle.

Perhaps it would be wise to keep well clear of Harlow Carr Gardens during July!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 7

Here are two ducks in the pond at Harlow Carr.

A duck pond is a pond for ducks and other waterfowl. Duck ponds provide habitats for water fowl and other birds, who use the water to bathe in and drink.

Typically, such ponds are round, oval or kidney-shaped. An example is the lily pond in the University Parks at Oxford in England, constructed in 1925. Often, as in public parks, such ponds are artificial and ornamental in design. Sometimes they may be less ornamental, as for example in a farmyard or flooded quarry. A small domestic version of the duck pond is at Knowle Farm in Derbyshire.

Some duck ponds are purposely built for the sport of duck hunting. These flight ponds are constructed by hunters and wildfowlers to attract ducks, such as mallard, teal, bufflehead and widgeon, at dawn and at dusk. The ponds have shallow edges to allow ducks to reach food on the bottom. Barley is often used to attract or hold the birds.

These ducks at Harlow Carr will not be featuring on the menu at Bettys Tea Room!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 6

Here we have a lovely view of the Library and Study Centre at the far side of the lake.

Tell me the old, old story,
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love;
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in--
That wonderful redemption,
God's remedy for sin;
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon,
The "early dew" of morning
Has passed away at noon.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the story softly,
With earnest tones and grave;
Remember I'm the sinner
Whom Jesus came to save;
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Tell me the same old story,
When you have cause to fear
That this world's empty glory
Is costing me too dear;
And when the Lord's bright glory
Is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story:
"Christ Jesus makes thee whole."

Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story,
Of Jesus and His love.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 5

What a joy to the eye. A grape vine!

Here we see the tiny grapes. They will swell up over the summer months and may eventually be turned into wine.

Bread of heaven, on thee we feed,
for thy Flesh is meat indeed;
ever may our souls be fed
with this true and living Bread;
day by day with strength supplied
through the life of him who died.

Vine of heaven, thy Blood supplies
this blest Cup of sacrifice;
'tis thy wounds our healing give,
to thy cross we look and live:
Thou our life! oh let me be
rooted, grafted, built on thee.

Happy Feast!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 4

These white flowers belong to the iris family.

Iris is a genus of almost 300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. It is a popular garden flower.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Summer at Harlow Carr Gardens - 3

There are some lovely walks in Harlow Carr Gardens.

Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.

Sometimes the road seems long,
My energy is spent.
Then, Lord, I think of you
And I am given strength

Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.

Stones often bar my path,
And there are times I fall,
But you are always there
To help me when I call.

Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.

Just as you calmed the wind
And walked upon the sea
Conquer, my living Lord
The storms that threaten me.

Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.

Help me to pierce the mists
That cloud my heart and mind,
So that I shall not fear
The steepest mountain-side.

Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.

As once you healed the lame
And gave sight to the blind
Help me when I'm downcast
To hold my head up high.

Walk with me, oh my Lord
Through the darkest night and brightest day
Be at my side, oh Lord
Hold my hand and guide me on my way.