One of the good things about a Day Off is getting the opportunity for a long, lazy lie-in, isn't it? You open an eye just a fraction, check the time (knowing that no alarm is going to shatter the stillness) and gently return to dreamland.
Not in this house!
Most days Eliot is content to remain asleep until 6.30 am or even later. Sometimes he has to be wakened and reminded that the day has started. But not on my day off!
He has an uncanny sense of "Thursday" and so bounces out of bed at five fifteen giving the kind of gentle "woof" that will certainly turn to a "bark" if there isn't an immediate response from me. He wants to go out. It's a sunny morning, very pleasant altogether.... but I had no intention of getting up just then. So, I let him out and return to bed....
Of course, now I'm wide awake and think it might be quite pleasant to go for a walk. Eliot is happily sniffing around the garden well away from the house but, no sooner has the thought passed through my mind than he's at the door. His tail is wagging enthusiastically and with eyes sparkling he can't wait until we go out.
How does he do it? There wasn't a sound to alert him to the fact that I'd got up. I didn't speak a single word that might have carried on the still morning air. It was uncanny!
Returning home I gave this chair in the foreground a quick sanding because the old varnish had suffered over the winter. Then, with the dregs of a tin of varnish, it had a new coat applied. The process will have to be repeated but at least it looks a bit better than it did.
It came as a bit of a surprise that this was all done by half past seven! Maybe there is something to be said for getting up with the birds ... though I still think that Eliot made the day start a little bit too early!
Breakfast was the next thought .... and IKEA is the solution to that! 98p for seven items plus endless free coffee .... this surely has to be the best value in town?!! The Belfast store is a mile and a half from start to check-out so I did that little walk, gathering a few bits and pieces on the way! It is a cheery store with lots of space and many interesting objects. My purchases were modest ... a couple of bright mats for my kitchen, some food containers and a most unusual plant.
I've never seen a SYNGONANTHUS before. This variety is called "Mikado". It looks artificial.
I have no idea how big it will get or how easy it is to care for ... but at £2.99 it isn't going to break the bank.
The rest of the day had variety ... housework .... dozing (unsurprisingly!) ... taking photographs ... finally putting some things on the wall ....
The wee blue bird came from Turkey and is only just now finding a home.
While in the garden I took some pictures including this orange flower ... I know it is a weed ... but it is a very pretty one!
I don't know what it's called but the strong orange colour and the tight head really appeals. Of course, some would describe the foxglove as a weed too ... but I love the tall spikes and detailed flower heads.
There's a white one at the rectory as well and it seems to have many more, slightly smaller, stalks.
Such beauty in a tiny patch of garden!
The day will be rounded off shortly with a Chinese carry out and a very early night! Of course, tomorrow Eliot will quite happily sleep until I waken him ... maybe I'l get my revenge and toss him out of bed at the crack of dawn!
This day, nine years ago, was my ordination as deacon ... how life changed at that stage ... and I'd not go back! Thinking of all those recently ordained and others about to be ordained in the next few days. May God bless each one of them.
Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts,
by your Holy Spirit you have appointed
various orders of ministry in the Church:
Look with mercy on your servants now called to be
deacons and priests;
maintain them in truth and renew them in holiness,
that by word and good example they may faithfully serve you
to the glory of your name
and the benefit of your Church;
through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Book of Common Prayer
Collect of Ember Days