Posts tagged ‘Ilford’

August 16, 2010

Templebryan Stone Circle

Templebryan Stone Circle, Clonakilty

Who knows what went on here?  Was it for worship of the Sun or Moon, sacrifices or perhaps some kind of observatory?  This is no Stonehenge but impressive enough in its own way.  I first came across this stone circle earlier in the Summer when I was driving through Shannonvale.  I noticed the stones poking above the hedgerow and decided to stop and have a look.  A few days ago I passed again.  With the Sun high and bright in the sky, the light was not the best for a photograph (too much shadow and contrast), but then maybe the Sun is what these stones were put here for in the first place.

Since I wrote the above paragraph, I managed to find a link to this place.  The small stone you can just about see in the centre is made of quartz and is called the “Sun Stone”.  In Irish this is “Cloich Griene” which became the “Clon” in Clonakilty (the second part of the name has something to do with woodland so the name Clonakilty means “stone in the trees” or something.  Note – If you know any Irish please feel free to correct!  I see from the link above that there is a nearby early Christian site with an Ogham stone. I look forward to going to have a look at this sometime – the transformation of these ancient people from worshipping the Sun to worshipping the Son is something I’d love to know more about…

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August 13, 2010

I got to drive a classic car…

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… Well sort of.  There was nobody around to hear my pretend engine noises and tyre squeals as I took the Ford Model T for a spin.  I pass this fantastic sculpture several times a week; often there are tourists sitting in and on it having their pictures taken and so I thought that I would stop (when things were quiet) and have a go…

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This wonderful piece of work was the Millennium project of Ballinascarthy Community Council.  The plaque reads:

“You can have it any colour as long as its black”
These were the immortal words uttered by one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, HENRY FORD. 
Henry’s family were residents in this very village prior to having emmigrated to the United States.  The Ford legacy can still be seen around us today having never hesitated since revolutionising the motor industry in 1908 through the development of the worlds first mass produced automobile – The “Model T”.  This car became a car for the people and by 1927 over 15 million had been built.  Truly this car and its inventor were catalysts of the modern motor industry and by the time of his death in 1947 Henry had 
“Put the World on Wheels”

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So if you are ever heading into West Cork along the N71, don’t forget to stop in Ballinascarthy and take the  Model T for a test drive :~)

June 4, 2010

Letting Go … letting God

Church of the Ascension, Timoleague  

Have you ever been at your wits end?  Have you ever been in a situation that was completely desperate and you simply could not see any way out?  I suspect most of us have felt a bit like that at one time or another.  Maybe it was a health problem, or something to do with finances or to do with a relationship or some kind of depression.  We are at a total loss and so we do not know what to do.  And so what is often our very last resort?  That’s right, we call out to God to help us.  And what are our prayers like in these moments; are they gentle platitudes?  No they are from the very depths of our being, from (as the saying goes) ‘the bottom of our hearts’.  And so with our fists clenched and our stomach in knots and our teeth grinding we cry out to God…  And do you know what?  In these moments prayer seems to have a potency and a power way and above the norm, it is like when we are on our knees in our own personal Garden of Gethsemene that the heavens are torn open and we have direct access to the Throne of Grace.  We have at last made room for God and He is there before the first word has even been uttered from our trembling lips.  

May 21, 2010

In my Father’s house…

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm f2.8, Yellow Filter, Ilford FP4 plus, ISO 125
…there are many mansions. 
These words of Jesus (from John 14) have ever since they were first spoken, been a source of tremendous hope and encouragement to Christians down through the centuries.  No matter what this world and what this life throws at us we know that Jesus has prepared a home in heaven for all those who would seek to follow Him in this life. 
I continue to be amazed by this.  I know that I am not good enough to be called one of Jesus’ friends and I could write an endless list of reasons why I shouldn’t go to heaven.  I have every sympathy with the Apostle Paul when he said:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

Time and time again we become aware of the battle between what we know is the right thing to do and what we naturally want to do, the battle between “the flesh” and “the spirit”, often portrayed in cartoons as the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, each trying to win the mind of the person trapped in the middle! 
If the Apostle Paul struggled with this then we are in good company.  He goes on to say:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (v24, 25a)

Yes we inhabit “bodies of death” but thank God that we are rescued from them by what Jesus did for us on the cross. 
The picture above brought all this to mind.  I have passed by many times on my way between Ballinascarthy and Pedlar’s cross.  It is a sad sight.  Recently I had a bit of time to spare before a home visit so I decided to drop in.  There was no one at home although it had been used fairly recently by a chain-smoking tabloid-reading occupant.  I could have gone upstairs but I didn’t want to, I felt like I was trespassing.  I couldn’t help but feel sad for the person who had lived here last, who had poured so much of their life into this place, in keeping it clean, in decorating, in tending the garden.  I thought of the long gone days when the steam train would have been visible on the old railway behind the house; the white puffs of steam and jolly passengers making their way to or from West Cork.  I could almost hear the echoes of voices, calling from the kitchen that dinner was ready or the sound of laughter as children played in the garden (if they ever did I don’t know).  The tall trees stand like silent spectators all around. If they could, I wonder what story they would tell?
Everything that we take for granted every day is just so temporary, so transient that we would do well and wisely not to cling on to it too tightly.  Thank God that our home prepared by Jesus in the next life is a home that is permanent and where ‘moth and rust’ do not destroy and where thieves do not ‘break in and steal’ (Matt.6:19).  We do not deserve this home but we have a God who specialises in Grace – undeserved favour.   
May 19, 2010

Follow me!

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm f2.8, Ilford FP4 plus, (developed in Ilfosol 3, 6 mins @ 24o)

We had great fun watching this mother duck and her ducklings (all twelve of them) make their way from a stream then across a road and finally into the lake at Fota recently.  At the first attempt the mother just hopped out and charged off and then realised that there were no little ones following her.  They were left stranded because the bank was too high for them to jump up.  So the mother duck had to go back and lead them to a place further down stream where they could climb / hop out.  Then they made their procession towards the lake as you see in the picture.  I wonder how many of these twelve cute fluffy ducklings will survive to adulthood – I expect they make a fine lunch for several different predators?

Following is not always easy but we have the perfect Leader who looks after us in ways beyond our understanding and will ultimately lead us to our final destination.  Of course we can choose to go off on our own way but that is a path where we lead ourselves to certain death.  Thankfully Jesus comes looking for us and longs to bring us back into the fold (getting into a knot of mixed metaphors here)!  But He will never force us against our will, we have to be willing to follow Him knowing that it really is the only sensible option, but more than that, it is the way to the fullness of life and love and joy and peace and forgiveness…

May 13, 2010

Mange Tout




Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm (with yellow filter), Ilford FP4 plus, (pushed to ISO 400 in Ilfosol 3)

My better half has created the wonderful beginnings of a vegetable plot in a small area of the garden by the back door.  There are potatoes, cabbages, raspberries, strawberries, lettuces, radishes, a few other things that I’m not sure of and one of our favourites, Mange Tout.  (Since the above photo was taken they have grown quite a bit and are now supported by a clever arrangement of canes and string.)

When I was at school there was a strange sort of limbo time after all our A-level exams and before the end of term.  The boarding school was in the middle of nowhere in the Suffolk countryside and there was not a whole lot to do.  Someone had the bright idea that we could go and earn some money on a local farm, so off we went  cycling five miles or so to a farm that needed people to pick the crop of Mange Tout.  It was back-breaking work, it was baking hot but all quite good fun.  I’ll never forget the first day, we were surrounded by all sorts of interesting people from many different places who had very little English but could pick Mange Tout so fast their hands were just a blur.  I was quite proud of my several basketfuls and was convinced that my hard labour would earn me a small fortune.  As the day was coming to an end we were paid – I got seven pounds!  On the cycle back to school we stopped off at a pub, bought a meal and a drink and had about twenty pence left over.  But what happy times they were. 

May 10, 2010

Carmarthenshire

The Beach at Amroth
Olympus OM-1, G. Zuiko 35mm, Ilford FP4 plus (pushed to ISO 400)
Aberaeron
Olympus OM-1, G. Zuiko 35mm, Ilford FP4 plus (pushed to ISO 400)

It’s probably the Welsh blood in my veins but there is just something about the Carmarthenshire coast.  It’s not especially spectacular when compared to say the West Coasts of Ireland or Scotland but it has its very own beauty.  The beach rambler would never tire of the sheer variety of coastline, vast sandy beaches, small rocky coves, cliffs and dunes, the abundant wildlife (and even the good ol’ tacky amusement arcade here and there).  Many childhood memories are brought to mind in these places – lemonade in glass bottles, sandwiches with more sand in them than ham or cheese, Granddad with a knotted handkerchief on his head, huddled in a bus shelter in the rain whilst eating salty chips, my grandparents Morris Minor. Ah yes what a wonderful place and what special memories.

Now as we occasionally get to travel across we witness a new generation of grandchildren accumulating wonderful memories, as plentiful as the shells gathered into their seaside buckets.  The world might be a slightly different place – lemonade is now called different things and comes in a plastic bottle, chips no longer come packaged in yesterdays newspaper and many other changes which on their own are tiny but when put together represent a subtly different world.  The new generation of Grandparents though are just the same, just as loving and doting and instrumental in passing on to their grandchildren that love and kindness which will still be there when their turn comes, as it surely will, when they will watch their own grandchildren run about in frenzied joy in a world that is the same but different.

April 25, 2010

Leaving a mark

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm, Ilford HP5 plus @ 400 ISO

Two small boys and a muddy flower bed = hand prints on the side of the house!

We all leave a mark of some kind.  Perhaps in the context of history, the mark that we leave is about as permanent as these muddy hand prints, soon washed away and forgotten about.  Perhaps our names will be looked up and placed in a family tree by our distant descendants.  In the corridors of eternity our presence must be no more than a transitory echo, the whole sum of our existence and efforts no more permanent than the blinking of an eye.

And yet

We do matter and we do have a permanent and real and significant place not only here and now, but always.  These are some words of Jesus (speaking about His followers) from this mornings Gospel:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

(John 10:28)

Death is more of a beginning than it is an ending and as our Psalm reminds us this morning (Psalm 23), He is there with us not only in life, but in death too:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  

(Psalm 23:4)

April 22, 2010

It was THIS big!

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm, Ilford HP5 plus, 400 ISO

Of course I have no idea what the conversation was between this faraway couple, but it may have been something along the lines of the above title post.  In the picture they are dwarfed by the expanse of sky above them, the vastness of the sea on one side and the dark rocks on the other.  Without getting too existential about it all, it makes me think of the smallness of us people.  We have all been given a humble reminder these past few days by a certain volcano with an unpronouceable name of just how powerless and small we all are in the grand scheme of things.  But then I listen to our two-year-old singing “My God is so Big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing that he cannot do!”  Yes we may be small, but we do matter to Someone, very much indeed…

March 24, 2010

Church on the HIll

Nikon F100, Nikkor 18-35 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford FP4 Plus (ISO 125)

I thought it was about time I put up a picture of some of the church buildings in the parish.  Others to follow in due course but first up is Kilgarriffe Church in Clonakilty.  This photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day and I have just developed the film so it is only appearing now.  The building dates from 1818 and is situated on a hill (and so is known locally as “The Church on the Hill”).  What more can I say – the people who go there are far more interesting than the building itself!

Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed a slight redesign – this was forced upon me when I was trying out Google’s Chrome Browser.  Somehow it managed to make a few layout changes without my telling it to.   I’m a bit scared of tinkering with HTML and have not managed to undo all the damage but I am pleased with the slightly new layout for the moment.