Saturday, 7 May 2011


In some parts of the country "Hanna" is a common surname ... South Down among them.  When I was at school I knew five people called "Elizabeth Hanna" (including myself).  At Sunday School prize distribution church we had our addresses read out as well as our names ... in those days very few had their Christian names shortened and certainly not in one's Mother's hearing!
Anyhow, today my sister E arrived with a fuchsia for me called "Hanna"!
I have never, in all my years of plant observation and collection, come across any plant, anywhere, that bears that name!  Isn't it wonderful?
Well, maybe you don't get so excited if you're not called Hanna ... but I was thrilled!
 And it is a rather attractive fuchsia!  The label describes it as "Red and White" though it isn't the red of the wild plant .... more a deep, strong pink.
Of course it had to be the 365Project photograph of the day and, since it was raining, I ran along to the summer house and took pictures from inside with the plant soaking up the rain.  It did mean that one arm ended up getting a bit wet - but all in a good cause.  Natural light is often so much better for plants and the greens of the garden do help with the contrast.
 Over fifty pictures taken .... it was a challenge to limit publication to just two or three!
 The top two pictures were taken while holding the plant horizontally and hoping that it didn't slide out of the pot!  It didn't!
Isn't it amazing how significant one's name is?  I suppose we know that when we see just how many things are on sale with personalization!  Now I have a fuchsia with my name ... how many readers can say that?!
Meanwhile, the mutt, who answers to more or less anything I call him, got wet.  It's been a long time since I smelled wet dog and had to share a sofa with one.  The smell is no better than it ever was and the sensation of 28 kilos of wet fur isn't all that desirable.
 Like his owner, he goes curly in the rain though his ears look very bedraggled!  (I don't think my ears change very much in rain or sun.)
 He did a fair bit of tail chasing and running around ... maybe he too had begun to miss the damp earth?  Certainly it will be good for the ground and hopefully the grass seed will now germinate and cover the bare patches.
 The iris bed is about ready to come into bloom which no doubt means that one of these days I'll find him lying in a pile of broken stalks!  Or maybe this year I'll have a bed of beautiful (though short lived) flowers?
One of the things in the diary for today was a charity abseil off the roof of a Belfast Hotel.  The curate of Saint Mark's, Dundela (who did a student placement with us in Saint Nicholas') was raising funds for Fields of Life and had agreed to do an abseil - although she is terrified of heights!
 This really was conquering fear and putting your trust in those who were organising the event.  When the abseil begins you're at the mercy of the ropes and the folk at the top who are in charge.  I guess more than one of us will use this demonstration of faith in a sermon in the near future!
Lots of Saint Mark's folk turned out with the Rector to watch the moment!
 Every time a figure appeared at the top of the hotel necks craned and eyes narrowed to see if it might be Lynne!  To make matters more confusing two different folk waved enthusiastically ... and we all waved back .... only to realize afterwards that it wasn't our abseiler!
 As you watched different people descend you realized how far up the roof of the Europa really is!  Thankfully I'd brought two cameras with me as the battery on the big one gave up part way through the shooting.  It was my own fault really as I was taking pictures of lots of folk coming down even though we knew that Lynne wasn't among them!  Anyhow the photographs on the blog are all from the smaller camera which did a perfectly good job.  Mind you, I did have a moment of envy when I saw the huge zoom lens on a DSLR that some photographer had ... I'd need to do an abseil or two to afford the amount of kit that he was carrying around ... and the convenience of a pocket camera is hard to beat!
 Nothing was going to move the now sizeable crowd of supporters until we saw Lynne safely on the ground!  And eventually, there she was!
"Third time lucky" we called to each other as this person waved!  Soon she was over the edge and descending like a professional ... or something a bit like a professional!
 At that distance the person looks like a small bug on a window ... and you know that once the descent has commenced the only way is "down".  But even if someone were to "freeze" and become unable to operate the speed of descent rope, the folk in charge would simply use the other rope to lower you safely to the ground.  And you have to trust that!  Once upon a time, in another life, I too conquered the fear of going over the edge and joined a group of abseilers.  We were working on Ramore Head along the north coast ... and the trouble with that was ... after the abseil the only way off the beach was a steep, almost vertical, climb back up the cliff face!
 It was a very moving moment to see Lynne come down and then eventually be greeted by her family, Rector, friends and the parishioners of Saint Mark's.  What a welcome!  They knew that she doesn't like heights and was yet prepared to do this for others.  No wonder sponsorship has been generous!
On-line giving alone is now well over £1,000 and I think Lynne has raised nearly that much from those who have given her money at church.
I should note that the weather for the abseil was perfect ... rain came later.  The young folk had a little bit of sun and no wind at all ... just the sort of conditions that you'd pray for (if you prayed for things like that)!
Today was also the day when the Methodist Church of South Belfast laid the foundation stone for their new building.  Unfortunately I don't have photographs of that ... but this is a significant moment in that history.  Building work has made great progress and everything is still on schedule for a February 2012 opening.
If this blog is also a record of my life ... then the day started with a visit to Tomb Street to collect a parcel.  On Thursday I phoned BT about a problem with BTVision.  On Friday the package arrived at the house to replace some units!!!  How's that for efficiency?  (I wan't at home so had to collect it today.)  Eliot came too and was much admired in the sorting office and he was so obedient it was almost embarrassing!  He can do it ... when he chooses!!!!
Night night world ... a long and very satisfying day with an idea for a sermon or next week's talk at the local Primary School!!!  Might even do a powerpoint presentation for it!!!

Almighty Father, 
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples 
with the sight of the risen Lord: 
Give us such knowledge of his presence with us, 
that we may be strengthened 
and sustained by his risen life 
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Book of Common Prayer
Collect of the Third Sunday of Easter. 

1 comment:

ROBERTA said...

What a magnificent feat to face one's fears by scaling the side of the Europa! I doubt I could commence - nevermind complete such a feat! Great pics!

And I think I can smell Eliot's wet fur all the way over here!!!!