Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bank Holiday Blues part 2

It’s gonna rain today in Devon! Oh yeah, it’s gonna rain

Yeah, it’s gonna rain again in Devon! Oh yeah, it’s gonna rain.

The rest of the country may be experiencing bank holiday sunshine

But not in Devon… ‘cos it’s gonna rain

[middle eight]

Three sunny days and a thunderstorm – yeah!

No, make that two sunny days…

No, make that one….Oh what fun!

It’s a Bank Holiday again….bring it on…the rain

[instrumental lament…] [fade to oblivion…]

It’s all gone cuckoo

Not content with seeing one cuckoo, I saw a pair of them this morning – in Hawthorn trees on the railway line beyond Gypsy Rock (for those locals who may read this). The abundance of Meadow Pipits must be the big draw for them. Tennyson’s ‘red in tooth and claw’ was fully evident as well this morning with a charm/murder of magpies setting about two distraught blackbirds who were doing their best to see them off. A cowardly crow also tried to get in on the act as they raided their nest, which events remind me of the school kids who take delight in asking profound questions like ‘why did God make wasps?’.Uurrh? Answers on postcards only.

The thin end of the wedge

The thin end of the wedge

It’s good to see the wedge of humanity keeping all this religious iconography in balance…if you see what I mean?



Dartmoor Surprises

Sometimes I trudge across the Moor and see nothing. Today was different: Stonechats, Wheatears, Jays, Meadow Pipits, Sky Larks, a Green Woodpecker and I heard the elusive Cuckoo – a different on this time – miles from the one I saw the other day. Add in chaffinches, rooks, crows, gulls, wrens, tits, and sparrows (no longer two a penny), sheep and ponies and it made for an enjoyable couple of early morning hours before returning to the reality of parish admin… another funeral…


I have often heard a cuckoo when out walking but today, for the first time, I saw one. Sitting in a pine tree, a largely grey bird against a dull grey sky singing his/her heart out. All we need now is the summer weather to go with the song!

The Gardener

Once upon a time there was a gardener who was constantly perturbed that grass always grew abundantly everywhere except on his lawn, which seemed to be a haven for moss. Not only did this fact disturb him but each Spring he would commence an unequal battle in his tiny garden, usually full of optimism that this year will be different, that something would grow that thrives on more than just neglect or that could be harvested at a time other than the 2 weeks when the gardener was holiday in August. The gardener remained optimistic even though it appeared he had learnt little from previous years where he had adopted a similar approach with little success!

“It is a new beginning again as Spring is here bringing with it the promise of a new start: a new beginning,” said the gardener who surveyed his garden with a spade in hand.

You see this gardener had a very strange idea of how to keep his garden. He would make a good start each Spring, clear his small patch, dig it, manure it, and plant numerous seeds and plants but then, rather than continually tending his patch, he became somewhat distracted by other interests that kept him from his garden. There was the FA Cup Final, the joy of looking after his grandchildren, the unseasonable weather, the need to shop and buy stuff, friends who came to call as well as his other jobs and the fact that he was too tired to face the prospect of getting out in the garden.

Soon the seeds and plants began to grow but so did all the weeds. There was no time for pruning the fruit bushes or digging up the weeds, the grass on the lawn soon passed 6 inches and started to seed. There was an abundance of foliage but little evidence of fruit as the summer progressed. Numerous weeds choked the plants he wanted to cultivate. The slugs and caterpillars moved in stripping many of the plants of their health and vitality. A mole took centre stage in the lawn leaving ample evidence of subterranean activity.

Meanwhile the gardener continued to pursue his other interests paying little regard to the garden even though he walked down the garden path many times each day. It was as if the garden had disappeared from his consciousness.

Then early one morning in the autumn having enjoyed a leisurely summer doing not a lot in the garden, the gardener stepped out of his house and paused to look at the garden. It was a mass of brambles and ivy. He could make out some of the plants he’d planted in the Spring, but many of them had simply not made it. They had been choked by the weeds or eaten by the insects.

“How did this happen?” he asked himself.

Then he had a moment of self-revelation, came to his senses, and realised that being a gardener was not just a bolt on to life – it was about life itself, that the garden needed constant tending and care. If the garden was not the top priority then weeds would grow, insects would eat everything. He lamented the lack of pruning. He could see with his own eyes that his garden looked very green but there was little or no fruit. It might look healthy if you glanced at it quickly – plenty of green stuff – but closer observation quickly revealed the true state of the garden.

“I have been a fool again,” thought the gardener. “I have neglected my garden for another season and I will reap what I have sown because of my neglect. There is hardly any fruit or plants that I want in my garden. It has been overtaken by weeds.”

Jesus’ words came into his mind “Seek first my kingly rule, my integrity, and all these things will be yours as well”. “This garden is my life,” he thought. In that moment he was thankful that despite the mess that confronted him he knew he was offered a new beginning. He could only transform his garden if he transformed his life – root and branch – he determined that he would not pass up this new beginning; there was time still to produce fruit, even though it was late in the season.

Bank Holiday 12 Bar Blues

It’s raining here in Devon…I’ve got the Bank Holiday blues

Oh…it’s raining here in Devon…I’ve got the Bank Holiday blues

‘Do something ’bout this awful weather Vicar…Why don’t you use your influence up above?

Do something ’bout this awful weather Vicar…Why don’t you use your influence up above?’

‘Cos, my friend, I’m in sales and not management…

Oh yeah sales not management….(fade to oblivion….)



I’m not a Pentecostal – it’s official

24 hours with a Theologian at Buckfast Abbey has been a good time. Dr Andrew Davies provided excellent input on Pentecostalism so I can now officially confirm that I am not a Pentecostal! I’m just a rural MOTR Anglican…