August 31, 2012
For our family holiday this year we returned to Wasdale Head in the English Lake District. It is such a wonderful place to stay, with the benefit of being much quieter than other parts of the Lake District (because of its inaccessibility and because there is nothing to do here other than go walking in the hills or swim in the lake)!
St. Olaf’s Church is one of, if not the smallest church buildings in England. In the picture above it is all but hidden amongst a circle of Yew trees, with Kirk Fell and Great Gable in the background (larger version on Flickr here). The church has been there for at least a thousand years, some of the original timbers apparently being those from a Viking Longship.
The four of us bundled into one of the pews for a Sunday evening celebration of Holy Communion. It was one of the highlights of our holiday, the visiting clergyman gave an excellent sermon and it was wonderful to share the bread and the wine with such a variety of people, locals and fellow hill-walkers alike. (Photo on Flickr here.)
This window, with the quote from Psalm 121 is dedicated to the members of the Fell and Rock Climbing club who lost their lives in the First World War. It looks out on to the church yard and the graves of numerous climbers who died in the surrounding hills and of those who simply wanted to be buried here in such beautiful surroundings. In the background you can just about make out the north facing slope of Lingmell. (Photo on Flickr here.)
The origin of our word ‘holiday’ comes of course from ‘holy day’, a day set apart for God. There really is something special, spiritual and holy about walking among and being in these hills and I cannot think of any better way of expressing it than in those words of the Psalmist quoted above. St. Olaf’s may be the smallest church, near the highest mountain and the deepest lake in England, but perhaps here more than most other places, it is not necessary to confine one’s worship to a building because praise, worship and thanksgiving come so naturally in these most beautiful surroundings, just as much today as they did to those original Viking settlers over a thousand years ago.
August 22, 2012
In what must be the answer to many a farmer’s prayer, the sun is shining at last. The large number of combine harvesters and tractors on the narrow roads are making driving around the parish a hair-raising experience, but it is great to see the work being done. Perhaps the upcoming season of Harvest services will be a time of thanksgiving after all, even though this year has been one of the worst in living memory for all those involved in agriculture.
The Bible verse that came to mind as I was taking this picture, was from John’s Gospel in the old King James version:
“… behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
The Lord Jesus is comparing a field ready for harvesting to the many people who are (after centuries of waiting for the Messiah to come), ready to hear his gospel message and to know Him as Lord and Saviour.
Photo Notes: I used a very wide angle lens for this shot (a Tokina 12-24mm f4). I set the aperture to f22 and thankfully it was bright enough at that aperture to get a shutter speed of 1/50 at 100 ISO. The unusual colouring is a Lightroom preset called ‘Coldtone.’ See the picture on Flickr here.
August 21, 2012
Sometime in the middle of last month we had an unexpected visitor at breakfast. As we sat together, one of us noticed a caterpillar crawling up the outside of the window, we watched as it got to about half way and then it stopped. We soon got bored and carried on with breakfast and forgot about the caterpillar. later on in the day however we noticed that it was still there but it had sort of deflated a bit and dulled in colour. Tiny silken fibres had begun to surround the caterpillar, anchoring it to the window. Slowly over the next few days a chrysalis formed around it.
We went away on holiday and came back and ‘he’ was still there, unchanged, though perhaps a little darker in colour. Then a couple of days later, (once again at breakfast), we noticed some movement. The butterfly was emerging, head and legs and the first part of the wings, still all tucked in and neatly folded. We watched for a while but he didn’t seem to progress any further. Perhaps he was waiting for the sun to shine, but the sun didn’t shine much and it was an unseasonably cold and wet day.
Sadly, he didn’t make it. All those weeks of waiting for the moment to arrive and when it did it all went wrong. So near and yet so far…
(See photo on Flickr here.)