Saturday, 10 February 2018


A dog walk to begin the day and leave Dougal comfortable while I went off on a 4Corners walk in East Belfast.

He did manage to get wet and muddy, but that dries off fairly easily.

I was a  little early for the 4Corners walk so took the opportunity to watch the birds on the mud flats.  How often you wish the binoculars were in your bag and not sitting at home!

The walk took in all sorts of things from the Sam Thompson bridge through to C S Lewis Square and then on to Skainos and The Larder.  For the most part it was dry with rain only beginning seriously as we neared Mersey Street. 

The Greenway makes for very pleasant walking separated from traffic.  I'd do that walk again ... and might even bring Dougal!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Friday ... a week later!

Well, it has been a funny old seven days ... too much happening to have time for the blog.  So this will just catch the highlights.  Part of the reason is that we're in the middle of the 4Corners Festival.

Saturday was "A Tale of Two Cathedrals" so we (4Corners) walked between Saint Peter's and Saint Anne's ... hearing about the work of the cathedrals and features in the architecture.  There was also a quick tour of a Youth Centre project in Divis.

There isn't space (or time) to show the many pictures ... but you'll find them on my Facebook page.

Parish Communion on Sunday when we dedicated the almost completed Side Chapel Screen.  This has developed over the last six years and depicts "The Six Days of Creation".  The panels were made by Andrea Blain and various items have been added by parishioners and friends. 

You need to come into the building to see some of the wonderful detail in the panels ... the overview is great ... but the fine touches are magnificent.

Some are pinned in place for the moment until we have all of the completed animals and humans.

The dogs that Andrea and I had when first at Saint Nicholas' have pride of place ... Angel, the Lurcher, and Eliot, the Springer/Collie.  They are painted onto fabric ... other animals are embroidered, or made with a combination of techniques. 

The whole idea began with Andrea's sketch ... 

With all the running backwards and forwards the dog sits like a monarch on the back seat.  It appears that the new car has his seal of approval!

Forest walks happen from time to time.  And Dougal is always eager to get out and about.

I forgot to mention earlier that, on Sunday, I announced my intention to retire on 31st May.  More of that in future blogs.

Monday was again 4Corners ... a play in the Agape Centre.  You could have heard a feather drop as the four actors portrayed a tense situation where a RUC widow went to the Sinn Fein MP for help with troublesome youths.

We're still only at Tuesday.  4Corners that evening (after a day of working on the Parish Magazine) was a banquet in the City Hall.  Invited guests were either donor families or donor recipients.  What moving stories of courage and pain. 

Wednesday began very early ... a trip to the BBC to do Thought for the Day at 6.55.  Then Holy Communion in Saint Nicholas', lunch with a friend (when we had to wait for a long time for service), and more time on finishing off the magazine.

"Thought for the Day" can be accessed here:

Thursday, day off ... started early when my sister arrived at seven o'clock for breakfast.  We then spent the morning in the Belfast City Hospital for my cancer check up.  It was good to hear the all clear.

So, we collected the dog and had a very pleasant walk in the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon park with a light lunch in The Stables.   Magazine finished and ready to print!

Which brings us to today! 

The Messenger, my 44th one, is on the church website.  You'll not be surprised to see that the cover is a photograph of the altar screen!  It was printed this morning and is now with a couple of kind parishioners who organise the distribution.

Those, you'll appreciate, are just some of the highlights of the week ... lots more bits and pieces were included ... and there just wasn't time to do the blog!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Friday ... including Thursday

A fairly packed couple of days ...
Yesterday, Thursday, Saint Brigid's Day. 

I've had this cross made from rushes for years and years.  It hangs in the guest room at present. 

The lapel brooch came from "Calvary" in Omeath last year.  There was a young teenage lad manning the tiny gift shop so we bought a couple of them and some other stuff.  I don't imagine he sells very much at all.

It was also on Saint Brigid's day that flights to the USA were booked ... for October!  I've been invited to a wedding so the first thing was to ensure that travel is organised.  What to wear comes next!

The opening night of the 4Corners Festival rounded off the day.  A very challenging and revealing evening in Saint Michael's on the Shankill. 

I wasn't in a great seat for taking pictures!  But you'll find another much better one on this link as well as a summary of the evening:

So, to Friday!  The Presentation of Christ in the Temple or Candlemas ... an important day in the church calendar and the official end of the Christmas season.

It was also the day when I acquired a replacement car.  It is a neat little thing ... smelling a bit of cigarette smoke ... but I can soon get rid of that!

To celebrate, I had haggis for my dinner!  A very tasty and well seasoned little beast.

Meanwhile the pup is waiting patiently for bedtime to be announced ... he went up a little earlier ... but returned to see why the delay!

The tee shirt is out ready for tomorrow ... a walk between Belfast's two cathedrals.  If today's biting wind is anything to go by, there'll be some layers under the tee shirt!

For details of the Festival and a look at the programme ... this is the link:

Pictures from the walk ... tomorrow!

Good night.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Blue Moon

I guess I just had to record it ... though the picture isn't at all great.

Adds a whole new meaning to "Once in a Blue Moon"!

A couple of "interesting" days ...

The big problem is ...
... the car!

There it is ... leaning to one side ... broken suspension ... and ££££££££ to fix!  So sad to have to say farewell to it ... but ... twelve years old ... if the back suspension has gone ... how long before we're repeating the performance with the front?  It was a good car.  Big and strong as well as being very economical to drive.  But, if it has to go, it has to go!

I've been driving a friend's car over the weekend, although the dog hasn't seen the inside of it!  Can you imagine hair, sand and mud over the beautifully kept clean interior?  Not to mention licking the windows!  Perish the thought.

Walks have therefore been in the local park where there's a flooded area under the trees.  As the water begins to subside the consistency of the liquid is more like mud.  And no prizes for guessing who makes a bee line for it!

Yes ... splashing around like a two year old!  Such contentment!  I haven't the heart to put him on a lead so that he stays clean and dry.  Other dog walkers look on with amazement, or horror, as he dives straight in.

Yesterday I had to take a quick run into town and, since I was close to Saint Anne's, I spent a happy hour there.  It was around one o'clock and so the daily prayers were an added bonus.   I really must try to catch evensong one of these days as well.

There are now a number of places where candles are available for prayers ... this stand is just outside the Chapel of Unity. 

Since the camera was with me I indulged in taking some shots around the baptistery. 

We have some beautiful stained glass.

Finally, a shot from where I was sitting for the daily prayers.

Meanwhile we're working on getting the sixth panel for the Side Chapel screen completed ... my contribution are two dogs ... Angel and Eliot ... who were to be seen around the church frequently.    Their memory will live on in the final panel.