Music at St Mark’s

Just back from a great afternoon of  music at St Mark’s. Our own Bridget, husband Lawrence, friend Wendy Weatherby and others entertained us for hours with music to singalong to or tap our feet. The worrying thing is that I knew far too many of the old songs. Does that mean I am actually old or just appreciate old music?

Took me back to my dad playing Stardust and The Old Music Master by Hoagy Carmichael on the piano for me when I was little. And now my boys like some of my music too and not just hiphop and whatever else is prevalent these days. It’s good to be broadminded in music.

It’s good to be broadminded full stop.

Bibles and Beer

An e-friend came across this Temperance hymn which I just had to share. What would the Episcopalian version be? Prayer books and Gin? And can anyone think of a tune we could sing it to?

Bibles and Beer

Over the sea in their ignorant blindness,
Dwell the poor heathen ‘mid darkness and night.
We in the homeland with brotherly kindness,
Reach out with longing to send them the light.
So o’er the ocean our good ships are speeding,
Gladly to bear the tidings of cheer;
But side by side with the word of God – think of it!
Travels its foe – our American Beer.

Bibles and beer! What a strange combination!
Who ever heard of the like in creation?
Mustn’t the heathen consider us queer,
Sending them cargoes of Bibles and beer?

Bibles to teach them the way of salvation,
Lifting them up from the mire and the clay;
Beer to effect their demoralization,
Sinking them deeper and deeper each day.
What must they think of us, giving them double,
Hope from above and despair from beneath?
Filling the beckoning hands that entreat us with
Bread of life mingled with water of death.


Oh, the disgrace of it, oh, the sad pity!
Pray, Christian voters, has this your consent?
Then tell me why, in town, village and city,
You are not working this shame to prevent.
Why do you work, vote and shout with the parties,
Pledged as you know to this legalized sin?
Think of a Christian land sending to heathen lands
Beer to be sold, with a Bible thrown in!


Holy Island holiday

Well, did you miss me little flock and dear readers? Know that candles were lit for you all in the parish church on Holy Island. And no, that was not just as a heat source. For I arrived on Easter Monday to hail, ice and snowdrifts and spent the first few days huddled over a convector heater before dashing out to buy fleecy blankets, hats, and gloves. No, there are no photos and nor will there ever be.

I stayed at Cambridge House which has the luxury of a silent lounge where nobody can speak and that was just what I needed after a Holy Week of words and drama and an Easter Day of Alleluias galore.

What did you read, Ruth? I hear you cry. Well, thank you for asking. I read the last few months’ worth of Church Times which had been languishing unopened. I read The Clowns of God by Morris West because of a quote from Bishop Alan during Holy Week. It was jolly good too, if a little dated. I finally read The Kite Runner which is probably the best book I’ve read for a long time. I read umpteen David Adams wee prayer and Holy Island stories. I skipped through Magnus Magnusson’s Lindisfarne and am half way through Paulo Cuelo’s The Witch of Portobello (had to have it for the title alone).

I even did a bit of walking, although I didn’t manage it to St Cuthbert’s isle because the tide was always high. Here’s a photo though.

St Cuthbert’s Isle

I spent a lot of time in church attending the Daily Offices. For someone who has to do it alone, it is nice to do it in company although it was a labour of love sitting in a freezing chancel whilst watching our breath in the cold air. Not even the millions of daffodils could warm our spirits. Interesting to note also how slowly they uttered the Offices – and I mean slowly. Nice to get into the rhythm of it once you acknowledged that nothing was going to speed things up and that cosy fire in your room would still be there on your return.

Celtic Cross

My only niggle – and it really is a small thing – is that for a place of pilgrimage they could have been a tad more welcoming. When your congregation at the Daily Offices is mainly made up of visitors it might be nice to smile, ask where they are from, share a little local lore – that sort of thing. If I ignored visitors in the way I was treated, I’d not be a growing church, that’s for sure. (I should say that Fr Damien was more approachable than most.)

I’m not the world’s greatest nature lover, as many of you know, but I did notice that the birds made a hell of a racket morning and night. Certainly didn’t need to worry about alarm clocks, that’s for sure.

An unexpected surprise was a concert by the Cruachan Consort who appeared on Thursday afternoon and treated us to a little Bach, Rachmaninov, Buechner and Tavener’s Icon of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne (glorioso!). They were really good and the heating was put on especially. Had to limit the encores so they could get back to the mainland before the tide came in which was a pity for us.

And now its back to sun, work and a cluttered desk once more. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

Set the Mood

What am I listening to today? Well, thank you for asking. I started off with mellow classical to try and calm me down. There is nothing quite like Farewell to Stromness for soothing my troubled spirits. (The linked version is guitars and not piano, but you get the drift.) But I am afraid it was going to take more than that when I am suffering from pre-Holy week nerves and stress.

So I decided to go for my new album Set the Mood by David Jordan. (He’s the one who sings Sun Goes Down.) Funky is good for lifting the spirits. Try him out. I like it. He’s a wee bit of Prince and a wee bit of Terence Trent Darby and a big bit of himself, I dare say.

Temptations and The Four Tops

Bit of a sore throat this morning after singing my wee heart out last night with Son #1 at the Temptations and Four Tops concert. Son #2 had bought the tickets – he learned his love of Motown from his old mum – but as he is still down-under he couldn’t go. I did try to sell his tickets, honest.  So we went instead and Son #1 was a tad reluctant, having lots of studying to do and being far too cool to enjoy some very old boy bands.

Well, apart from the woman on Prozac, he was first on his feet to boogie on down. What a night! It was just wonderful. Everyone was up dancing, artificial hips, knees and all. I haven’t had so much exercise in a long time. Just great.

Music Festival pics

What a great day! Three hours of Scottish, Celtic, Big Band, Ceilidh and Jazz music to suit all tastes. The community turned out in droves and we even ran out of seats at one point and had to direct some upstairs to the balcony. I think I even saw a Raspberry Rabbit and fiancee too.

The pics have gone on that Flickr thing. Go see for yourself.