Friday, 9 January 2015

Does it make things easier ... ?

The internet, that is!
In theory ... yes.
There's all the information you could possibly want, and then some!  The traveller is faced with a bewildering choice of places to stay with multiple saver options.  Tripadvisor helps to narrow the field ... but even then ... one bad review doesn't mean that the place is to be dismissed out of hand.  Others have written more positively ... everywhere can have and off-day ... and some people are very hard to please!
Anyhow, with a dozen hotels shortlisted, the task of narrowing it down to a final winner begins ... and eventually that has been done.
So, two hours later, TWO HOURS, flights are booked and a bed reserved ... and I can enjoy the anticipation of a visit to the Iron Men at Crosby.

If weather at the end of February is fine I will take more pictures to add to the collection of "Another Place".
 There is something strange about the pull of these figures ... you'd almost (but not quite) want to wade out to look at those buried deeper in the sea ... it might just be a tad cold in February!


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Beauty

All around us ... in the big things and in the details there is amazing, breath-taking beauty.
For example ... ducks!
Castle Espie is the place to see them up close.
 This little Mandarin duck just drops onto the pond and paddles away.
Is it aware that the most studding display of coloured feathers are on his back?  I doubt it.
Meanwhile other ducks gather for food and each has some distinctive marking.















Quite simply a feast for sore eyes.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Saturday

Missing the dog ... still washing blankets that were his and drying off the toys before they go to a new home.  It has been good to receive so many messages of sympathy and understanding.  I guess Eliot had a fairly large Facebook and Internet presence and featured on 365 and other photographic sites.
It is strange to be able to eat a piece of cake without a beggar and to go upstairs without having to step over him!
Meanwhile the fish thrive ... and their tank needs a bit of cleaning tomorrow.
So ... for now ... coffee and cake ... and then an early night.
The early night didn't materialize ... somehow the minutes stretch to hours ...
This timer (1, 2 and 3 minutes) is a handy reminder of just how quickly time passes!

Friday, 2 January 2015

It has been a while ...

Days, weeks and months pass ... suddenly we're in 2015!  How did that happen?
The year got off to a difficult start here in the rectory.  Eliot became ill and had to be put to sleep yesterday, New Year's Day. It was his fourteenth birthday.  A very sad farewell but to make him linger would have been selfish.  He was not going to get better.
So today I'm washing his blankets and toys.  They'll go to a good home.
And I'm adjusting to life without Eliot.
There is the whole year lying ahead ... a year of potential and hope ... a year when, once again, we can see God's hand at work in our lives.
Christ, the Light of the World, is here among us ... let us walk with him into the unknown.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Twelfth

This year the Belfast Twelfth passed off without the violence and disrespect of recent years.  A pleasantly warm and dry day made for comfortable watching of "the bands" ... and what a mixture they were!
Some clearly practice hard both in playing and in marching ... one particularly good one (and I may have a small bias!) was the Mourne Young Defenders from Kilkeel.  Every single member was in step, the tunes they played were recognisable and the big drum was used appropriately.  You couldn't say that for every band and some of the big drums were more like weapons of ear destruction!





It was a good day for photographs ... but I'll not put all six hundred up here!



I like to capture the "unusual" or "amusing" moments ... and did manage to find a few "interesting" shots.








One of the features of The Twelfth is the array of large banners ... too many in the Belfast parade to show them all ...



















Friday, 4 July 2014

Patience ...

Maybe it's the warmer weather ... but there seems to be a serious lack of patience around ... particularly on the roads!
White van drivers have a reputation ... and some of them earn it!  The motorway is notorious ... white van weaving in and out to gain a car length or two ... and then to discover that someone he passed illegally is now in front of him again!
The Lisburn Road is a "death trap".  Pedestrian crossings (with lights) can be ignored by driver after driver.  It is amazing that so few people are knocked down because the opportunities are certainly multiplying.
I was waiting to take a right turn yesterday ... aware of oncoming traffic ... the driver in the white van behind me wasn't so patient ... a long blast on the car horn almost persuaded me to get out and go to his window to ask what was the matter!  The fact that I was in clerical black suddenly dawned on him ... but why should that make a difference.  Bad manners and impatience are just plain wrong whether it is against woman or man, cleric or lay.
Perhaps this is city life ... everything must be at an ever faster pace ... a good walk on the beach with a contented dog may be the answer.
It might even cool down some of the hot heads who claim to be the leaders of this province.  Do they ever stop to take a look at themselves and their behaviour.  What we don't tolerate in a three year old we seem destined to have to put up with in the politicians.

Drink water ... with a dash of lime and go for a walk ... with a dog if you have one!