Lady of the House and I were at York over Easter weekend. We had not been there since the mid-eighties, when the Minster had been damaged by fire. This was a different visit as we did not have the children this time!
Snow and a biting wind did not stop us wandering through the narrow streets, and visiting the Castle Museum. We also found a wonderful country pub with excellent food.
Easter being an important Festival, a visit to the Minster was one of the reasons we went to York. The 10am service saw the largest congregation I have ever seen outwith Rome’s St Peter’s Square. We went to Sung Mattins. and then I went on a hunt for a photo of an angel. There were loads of Bishops, Apostles, cherubs, and wonderful Madonnas, but no angels, or Seraphims.
We even went to Beverley Minster, but again no angels! maybe some can explain why!
Travelling south on Friday, on a miserably wet and snowy journey through Gateshead, on the way to York, Young Lady and I suddenly spotted through the gloom, the Angel of the North. I have given the Angel the benefit of capital initials as she is now very famous following 10 years of life on a wind-swept hill. On first glimpse, it looks a bit like a glider which has reversed in flight and landed with its tail embedded in the hillside, and nose pointing skyward!
We were not able to stop to have a closer look, as the inexorable traffic drove is on, and we could see no exit signs to let us go closer. I’ve read about it (on blogs and elsewhere)and seen the photos but was still not prepared for the size. I must be honest that on such a day I did not find it beautiful, but it is certainly startling, and perhaps the fact that it is not possible for a through-traveller to see it in detail is important. It is obviously very strong, but in some ways it is ephemoral, as it fades into the distance. The image of the outstretched arms was also not lost on me on Good Friday…was this intentional?
You can check it out on the gateshead website… www.gateshead.gov.uk …then follow the link, for a three-dimensional view. Maybe next time we will be able to get out and have a closer look.
I had to head north on Wednesday to the Highlands of Argyll, to the town of Lochgilphead (at the head of Loch Gilp, believe it or not!) and then the interesting little sheltered yacht haven of Ardfern. Local residents had advised that the wind and rain they had recently might prove a hazard on the route, but I felt my journey was necessary, so set off in the drizzle, but the weather improved as did the scenery.
Much of this area had been used for commercial foresting and great swathes of the countryside had been covered with towering firs. As I have been travelling up here for decades, I have seen them growing from young saplings to the majesty which they eventually achieve. As a by-product of this, however, the trees themselves can sometimes become the scenery, as vistas are precluded by the darkness of the forest near the road. What a wonderful surprise it is then, when coming round a corner, to see that an area has been cleared giving a clear view of the lakes and hills beyond.
Whilst the cleared area may sometimes be unsightly for a couple of years, Mother Nature takes over and the natural flora can return.
Might this be a good theme for thinking about life….or is that too philosophical for this time of the day?
I noticed that the new website for our Diocese makes no reference to Episcopacy or Episcopalian….can someone explain why!
It sums up our mode of operation, via the rule of Bishops, while the term Anglican simply implies an affinity to England. Are we now going to see Ireland.anglican, Wales.anglican, and maybe, England.anglican?
Having made a criticism, could I thank them for the new website which looks very swish, and gave webspace to Angelus, our choir.
If you do not know the beautiful lyrical choral piece ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ by John Rutter, see if you can find a copy. It is for a small choir with keyboard and oboe, and it is one of those pieces which transcends time. I did it with my choir many years ago, and it was an emotional event. We had it this morning at the Cathedral, and this, along with the Baptism of a lovely little girl (who gave us a huge grin), was again a moving time.
I find that as I get older, I am less worried about showing any emotion….and having spoken with some others of similar age, they also seem to have no problem. Maybe that is one of the few advantages of aging!