Fed up with playing snowballs and making snow people? Part of the family menagerie is Halima the horse. To keep the field tidy and to provide for the roses it is necessary to clean up after the horse - a particularly interesting pass time in the snow is poo picking. I don't expect it is very likely to catch on as an Olympic Sport though!
Friday 3rd December, the Feast of Francis Xavier, was the 16th Anniversary of my priesting. Not only was I invited out to a delicious dinner but the Bishop's Confectioner, Douglas Campbell, made me a delicious Anniversary Cake modelled in the shape of a motorcycle crash helmet. Yum!
The picture is taken from the Kinlochbervie Hotel, my bike is the second from the left.
Fantastic day today with the Moray Coast Motorcycle Club end of season run. The day started with celebrating Mass at the 8.00 am Service at St John's then waiting on the Forres bypass for the Club who left Elgin at 9.00 am. First stop was Skiach Services at Evanton for a coffee and bacon roll, refuelled the bikes and then off to the West Coast arriving at the Kinlochbervie Hotel for Lunch. A cold but bright and clear blue sky day in some of the best biking country in the world, just unbeatable! After lunch we headed down the coast, over the Kylesku Bridge to Ullapool, refuelled the bikes and then a fast run on clear open roads down to Garve for a coffee stop. From Garve back to Inverness and on home to Moray with a welcome beef stew in front of the fire. It just doesn't get any better.
Out for my first run on the new bike today, from Forres through to Nairn then up over the Dava Moor and back to Forres via Snab of Moy. Awesome performance and such an enjoyable experience. I like the camaraderie of other bikers waving to you and the new perspective of being on a bike rather than in a car. Some people have said to me why? What is the attraction of riding a bike? Well in a sense it is a form of meditation, because riding a fast bike requires 100% concentration you need to clear your mind of all other thoughts and distractions and focus totally on you, the bike, and the environment and that is why it is so relaxing and enjoyable.
Life has been quite hectic of late hence little or no blogging. So what have I been so busy at? Well basically I have been thoroughly enjoying a mid-life crisis by fulfilling a long term ambition. Back in June I started to learn to ride a motorcycle. As a teenager I used to ride small motorbikes and always promised myself that one day I would learn to ride a big bike.
Had I really known just how challenging the process would be I probably would not have started. Learning to ride a big bike has been really rewarding and given me great respect for everyone who completes the journey. The first step is to sit the Theory Test and then to complete a CBT - Compulsory Basic Training Course, which is an intensive course of theory and a practical introduction to a 125 cc motor bike.You then progress to a 500 cc machine and train for Module 1, which is a practical driving test conducted at a test centre involving slaloms, U turns, emergency stops and slow and high speed manoeuvres. Then more training for the Module 2 which is a practical on road driving test. I successfully completed this final stage today and am now a fully qualified biker!
The picture above is my motorcycle a Honda 800 VFR VTEC which will give a whole new look (and Pace) to Deans visits in Moray!
The above picture is of Loch Carron and was taken as I was enroute to the Scottish Episcopal Church of St Donnan's Nostie last Friday the 16 April. At St Donnan's Father Tim Daplyn was installed by the Bishop of Moray, the Right Reverend Mark Strange, as Mission Rector. The Church was full and there was so much noise and excitement that we attracted the neighbouring pig down off the hill to come see what we were up to!
From Nostie it was off to the Caron Hotel for a delicious late Supper and then off over the Pass of the Cattle to Applecross for an overnight stay in one of the most comfortable B & Bs I have ever stayed in. After a hearty breakfast it was off to St Maelrubha's Church Poolewe,where after a fine buffet lunch it was time to install Father Tim into his second charge.
Father Tim Daplyn is pictured left with Bishop Mark.
From Poolewe it was on to the Church at Courthill Chapel, Kishorn, where Father Tim was installed into his third charge. The service here was followed of course by more food in the Community Centre. The West Coast is renowned for its legendary hospitality so, tired and well fed I headed home to Forres to prepare for Sundays Services in my own Church at St John's Forres. All in all a very satisfying weekend, with a bit of history making as well as this is the first time for around 200 years that this group of charges has had its own Rector. With prayers and blessings on Tim as he begins his exciting ministry in that place.
Just back from a wonderful week away. We had a really joyful Easter here at St John's with the Triduum Services well attended and the Church full on Easter Day and was just ready for a break at the end of a very busy week. So off to Wales and the Llangollen Canal some brilliant weather, good company and good food. Thursday 8 April was my birthday and was celebrated afloat with family, good food and some very fine real ale!
As a relaxation Canal boating is really difficult to beat - no phones no internet, a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour. Combine that with really good weather and a willing crew and all is well!
Back home on Saturday night, a trillion emails, light flashing on the answer machine and the photocopier has run out of toner so tomorrows Pew Sheets are a little pale looking, but happy memories of a superb week.
Have been neglecting the blog of late so here comes an update. Life has been extremely hectic especially work wise as we get ever closer to opening the new Diocesan Centre at Arpafeelie. The finishing touches of any major project seen to take so long and some aspects seem unnecessasarily complicated for example obtaining a new phone line and a broadband connection.
But I digress. Spring has sprung and all around there are signs of new life the crocuses in the header picture are the view from the Study window across the road to the Grant Park.
It is a particularly clear view at the moment as there are no windows in the Study!
The Rectory is having its windows renovated by a company called Ventrolla the end result should be rattle free, draft free, easy opening windows. For anyone who lives in an 150 year old house with sash windows you will know that really will be a result. Will keep you posted.
Imagine the scene a calm dry day in the Trossacks, which in itself is a fairly rare event, the temperature is three degrees and the surface of Loch Katrine is like a mirror which is suddenly shattered by a dive and a swim. Well no not me, it was the dog of course. A brief paddle about and then out, a quick shake and a run about and then on with the walk.
Made me think of brother Kelvin, not that he swims in Loch Katrine, at least not that I know of, though he does swim in his local baths in Glasgow and it was the Kelvin/Glasgow connection that made me think of him as Loch Katrine supplies Glasgow's water. So, Kelvin, the dog says sorry if you find blonde hair in your water, but she promises me she did not have a wee so your tea should taste fine!
That was yesterday (Tuesday) and today enjoying even better weather with temperatures that reached ten degrees today. Had a look around Doune today and a good walk with the dog along Loch Achray, yes more swimming. Lazy afternoon with the books.
Having tried to have a few days off after Christmas and failing miserably I am now enjoying a few days away in a little cottage in the Trossacks, just me, the dog, lots of books and some fantastic countryside.
Climbed Ben A'An today - sounds impressive dosen't it, but its not a Munro, not even a Corbett but Ben A'An has all the necessary attributes of a real mountain - a particularly steep, sometimes awkward path, a beautifully shaped summit and superb views from the top over Loch Acray and Loch Katrine.
The dog of course climbed it at least three times to my once and was still bouncing about when we got back to the cottage!
The weather is interesting here to say the least. The above picture is the horses field and it is proving interesting to get hay and food to her each day. On returning from last nights trip to feed the horse we had great difficulty getting the car back into the Rectory Drive and this morning we can't get out so had to get a lift from another mad horse owner who picked us up at the roadside. The main roads are passable but the sideroads are treacherous and getting worse.
Not everyone dislikes the snow of course and just across the road from the Rectory the local youngsters are really enjoying the sledging in the Grant Park.