Three feasts and Ungit

This post is sort of a continuation of an earlier one.

Three Castles

A few miles from us there is a castle called Three Castles. The name is thought to be because this is the last remaining one of three: a second is visible on a historic map, the third is a mystery.

Three Lakes

A few more miles and in the Wicklow Mountains is Three Lakes which, we are told, is a lake, although in fact there is a second smaller lake close by. But not three.

Denominationa religious group that has slightly different beliefs from other groups that share the same religion. On that basis the church I go to, and a few others worldwide that are loosely connected, constitute a denomination. Except that they claim they are not denominational. The same argument might apply to the church my parents took me to as a child. And both claim to be the bees knees when it comes to doctrine - although at least one must be wrong.

What is 'different' about the church I go to is that it is "third feast" (as opposed to "third wave") as in the three feast periods mentioned in the Old Testament which loosely equate to the initial salvation experience (Passover), baptism in the Spirit (Pentecost) and going on to perfection (Tabernacles). This is of course a very simplistic summary. Perfection is not a new idea - John Wesley and all Methodists who adhere to his doctrine advocate it. Exactly what is meant by perfection is another thing. Some have claimed that, on reaching "perfection" they would in this life live forever, although I have not yet noticed anyone doing this. And anyway there is something decidedly fishy about claiming oneself is perfect.

It's not that I disagree with the third feast idea. For one thing it sets a vision of holiness (perfection) to which one can at least aspire even if without divine help it is humanly impossible. But I've heard this preaching for around 40 years and do not see a corresponding amount of progress. Not in my life anyway. Whilst a believer can and doubtless should experience the first two, the third remains obstinately in the future. And yet I want to go on, to become better, I want it to have been true that I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Long ago, when we were living in London, I remember there was teaching in our group on likening our Christian journey to the children of Israel travelling from Egypt (code-name for the world system) to the promised land. This teaching continued over many weeks and then one day the preacher reckoned we were actually entering the promised land. But nothing that I noticed had changed, and it left me anticlimactic, like, what next? It also taught me not to trust preachers.

Presently the little door on my right opened and a woman, a peasant, came in... She looked as if she had cried all night, and in her hands she held a live pigeon. One of the lesser priests came forward at once, took the tiny offering from her, slit it open with his stone knife, splashed the little shower of blood over Ungit... The peasant woman sank down on her face at Ungit's feet. She lay there a very long time, so shaking that anyone could tell how bitterly she wept. But the weeping ceased. She rose up on her knees and put back her hair from her face and took a long breath... 

"Has Ungit comforted you, child?" I asked. 

"Oh yes, Queen," said the woman, her face almost brightening, "Oh yes. Ungit has given me great comfort. There's no goddess like Ungit." 

"Do you always pray to that Ungit," said I (nodding toward the shapeless stone), "and not to that?" Here I nodded towards our new image, standing tall and straight in her robes and (whatever the Fox might say of it) the loveliest thing our land has ever seen. 

"Oh, always this, Queen," said she. "That other, the Greek Ungit, she wouldn't understand my speech. She's only for nobles and learned men. There's no comfort in her." 

Lewis's Till we have Faces is his most pertinent fiction. If you, his reader, do not immediately identify with Orual's introversion then you're made of sterner stuff than I am. As usual in his fiction, Lewis wisely leaves it to the reader to elaborate. We cannot tell if the comfort this peasant woman gained was real or just a product of her sub-conscience but, either way, the new fangled, painted, Greek image of Ungit didn't do the trick. And maybe new fangled teaching isn't working for me apart from some small admiration for its colourful paintwork. I'll be denounced heretical for this admission no doubt. Perhaps my problem is unbelief, of which the Bible has many negative things to say. But I have tried to believe - help thou my unbelief.

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.



In the field of dynamical systems an attractor is a set of numerical values toward which a system tends to evolve, so says Wikipedia.  An example is the lowest point of a damped, swinging pendulum to which the pendulum gravitates.

I've noticed during my barefoot runs (on the road), that the probability of vehicles converging from opposite directions and wanting to pass just where I am, sometimes causing me to jump onto the verge and take what thistles, brambles and stinging nettles come my way, seems to be higher than statistics should predict. Thus it appears as if I'm an attractor. Of vehicles.

This lunch time I wanted to go into the kitchen - there are two doorways between our dining area and kitchen. I headed for the nearest one and found two women nattering and blocking the doorway. As this is a frequent occurrence I simply went towards the other door but, lo and behold, another knot of the female variety were blocking that one too. I considered the long way of going outside and trying to enter by the kitchen's outside door but thankfully the knot rearranged itself sufficiently for me, carrying my stack of dirty dishes, to squeeze past.  It appears therefore that doorways are attractors. Of women.

Not wishing to be unduly sexist, for all I know it may be (although I have not observed it) that men also like to talk in doorways but that it is a less common occurrence because, generally, men natter less than women.


Road closure

Several years back the road past the Ardenode hotel was closed because a bridge over a stream had collapsed - it stayed closed for well over a year I suppose whilst the council were figuring out who should pay for the repair.

Another road close by, from Ballymore past Coughlanstown to Carnalway cross, has likewise been closed for well over a year and is still closedHaving attempted but failed to return this way a while back I decided to cycle to Ballymore to find out why. The road climbs a small ridge between a disbanded quarry and an acute bend in the river Liffey. My surmise is that the river is eating its way into this ridge and making it unstable and that is why the road is closed. I parked my bike at the barrier on the right, and walked up from there and found a small landslide marked in yellow on my map.

Doubtless the council don't want to spend the considerable expense of making this safe and so the road remains closed - stalemate.

Barriers shown in red, landslide in yellow

Barrier and bike
The landslide with river Liffy on the left

The road is just to the right

Nothing obvious - but the landslide is just to the left


Christmas 2018

I woke up at my habitual 6 am, turned over in disgust and slept another hour or so. Then lit the boiler and went for my habitual constitutional just over 4 miles. Then a small breakfast before checking up on social media and showering before the first big event of the day, brunch with C&L and my granddaughters three...

The next major event of the day was scheduled for 1630 so I had some time to myself. Why not prove that I can still climb Church Mountain? So I did. Barefoot of course. The temperature was mild, around 10'C. Unfortunately the summit was in the cloud (which now-a-days is considered cool).

My track below, same as my usual, 14.6 miles, elevation gain 600m (max elevation 542m).

A by-product was working up an appetite for dinner, although I noted Others eating more who hadn't run that far. Whilst writing this I have topped up with Nora's exceeding good Christmas Cake and frankly my tanks are full.

The route to the pass starts a s a road

Then becomes a track: looking back towards my lake

Almost at the pass with Church Mountain ahead

The summit cairn and pillar

The view from the top

Descent - good thing I had my waterproof feet on

At the base, and no, I didn't

Christmas dinner at 1630!


Life, what is it but a dream?

I am tired of living a lie. But I am not even sure what the lie is or whether it really is a lie - I know it is something to do with these trappings we bolt onto basic Christianity. It started in my parents' open-brethren-cum-evangelical church, with the weekly "gospel service", door-to-door evangelism, the implied exclusiveness "we have a corner on Truth". Whilst I knew no better, even then some things didn't sit well with me. Like a special evangelistic weekend to which we were encouraged to invite our non-Christian friends to (then what were the weekly gospel meetings for?). Discussion as to whether an elder's son-in-law-to-be should be allowed to "break bread" because he came from a pentecostal church. Warnings about those who claimed God healed now-a-days, or warnings about the new vein of charismatic Christian songs that were effectively quotes from scripture. The implication that other denominations were, at best, inferior - or more likely plain deceived. Strong but opposing arguments about perspectives on eschatology. Women having to wear a hat and the question of exactly what constituted "a hat". Women not being allowed to speak in meetings (except for women's only meetings). In spite of all these quandaries it was probably the most Bible based church in the neighbourhood and I still miss the breaking of bread service (or I like to think I do, for I've not gone back to see).

Don't get me wrong - those folk meant well and I have been blessed beyond all that I deserve in being born in a free country to God fearing parents, as a child attending a Bible believing church, freely receiving a good education...

I've noted before of my church experiences in Oxford and, on moving to London, the "Friday Fellowship" that evolved from youngsters wanting "more of God" than they saw in the local Baptist church. A group in which Ali and I and another couple assumed de facto leadership. And teaching we received on the Baptism in the Spirit and on Speaking In Tongues, etc.

I look back with mingled horror at the way I harshly ploughed ahead cognisant of but not acting on my parents' warnings, thinking I was following God rather than man. Something I have since done in other circumstances and called it faith [see note]. We sold the house that my parents had helped us renovate, pooled funds with this other couple to purchase a larger property where we could live together In Community. I gave up my secure job with the BBC and became self-employed doing odd-jobbing building. We started to home-school our kids. All this in what we believed was a direction God had given us. And I still believe this, but faith can sometimes be tenuous.

My worried parents wrote to us. Not being sentimental I do not as a rule stash letters, but this one I have kept all these 37 years because I recognised its wisdom and truth even then as I still do today: here are some extracts which I think they would not have minded me sharing in retrospect [my emphasis and ellipses].

Although there is much in your fellowship that is good, and loving, and caring, admit you have a bias towards the gifts of the Spirit. And that there is part that is emotionally motivated... All this we believe in and do not condemn... Do beware, both of you, because God has given you common-sense also, beware of anything that is not real, because this intense atmosphere of sharing, can lead in time to disillusionment. We are still, and shall be until we are finally redeemed, human beings, subject to human failings. These things you take part in, can lead to splits among brothers and sisters in Christ, lack of security because you have lack of time to be alone with your immediate family. It can even lead to marriage breakdowns, and also physical and mental breakdowns. Just try to keep a right perspective, or you may have to pick up the pieces of a broken relationship. 

Later a group of us moved to Northern Ireland to join an established Christian community there, and squandered all our funds therewith. During this period Ali and I were demoted from leadership for reasons which evade me. And we watched as that community went bad and started to fall apart, and a group of us left en-masse before it was too late, but penniless.

By a miraculous coincidence the property we now live in was purchased using funds left in trust "for Christian work". When we moved in, there was hardly any heating and it was a bitter winter, but we were happy enough just to be free from the oppression and nonsense of that former community. We started a window cleaning business and the pittance we earned was enough to purchase basic food: the locals whose windows we cleaned were bemused at English folk cleaning Irish windows mid winter. Hard graft and a common vision to survive, and what we believe was the blessing of God, brought us to where we are now, with money in our pockets and enough reserve over the years to have paid outright for various extensions and renovations to our property without getting in debt. And today, all things considered, as community inmates go we are very well off thank you. But prosperity breeds contempt and contempt can lead to destruction.

On the stairs I passed a younger family heading bed-ward the other evening: child "Does God speak to us?" - mother "Yes of course he does" - child (gazing up at the ceiling) "Hello?.... no he doesn't".

There is a key to my disillusionment in my parents' beware of anything that is not real. In my life I have seen plenty of unreal nonsense in the name of God but not so much reality. Repeatedly I have asked God to make himself real / tangible to me. I am taught that I should have a "personal relationship" with the Lord but, if so, it seems very one way: I talk to him, period. Yes there have been times when I believe God has led me in a particular way, but these instances are the exception. In our little group I'm nominally a leader but I cannot preach, I'm not sociable, I hate confrontation rarely being sure enough of my own position to challenge that of others. My mother told me I was stubborn and this might be my sole redeeming feature - or is it damning?

If life is but a dream then anything goes. But otherwise there must be something that makes the distinction: like pinching oneself - although I've done that in dreams and it did hurt so I surmised it was real and then I woke up.  Two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus discussing rumours circulating after the crucifixion, later observed "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"

I like that - burning is tangible - burning is real. I wonder - is it the same as the strong emotion I can feel for instance when I listen to Stainer's God so loved the world?

If this counts as "tangible" (as opposed to mere chemicals coursing through my bloodstream) then maybe it is because of the gospel truth in the words. And if this is truth then life is not but a dream and there is purpose.

"But, look here," said I. "This isn't child's play. Are you quite certain that this Dark Lord, this depraved Oyarsa of Tellus, really exists? Do you know for certain either that there are two sides, or which side is ours?"
He fixed me suddenly with one of his mild, but strangely formidable, glances.
"You are in real doubt about either, are you?" he asked.
"No," said I, after a pause, and felt rather ashamed.

I vacillate between doubt and being ashamed about doubting. But above all I long for reality. But I'm also a coward - afraid that if I abdicate I will loose eternal salvation.

Only a minority even know of Bruckner: of those who do an even smaller minority enjoy his music. He was an unusual and lonely man but a Catholic of intense faith [see my note again]. I have just enjoyed listening to Sergiu Celibidache's rendition of Bruckner's 5th. I do not often allow myself to listen to serious music, partly because I just don't and partly because it can be rather antisocial in my context. I'm also reading Anton Bruckner - Rustic Genius by Werner Wolff which seems a more positive biography than some I have read. He quotes Bruckner as saying:

When God finally calls me and asks, what have you done with the talent I gave you, my lad, I will show Him my scores and I hope He will judge me mercifully.


They want me to write in a different way. I could, but I must not. Out of thousands I was given this talent by God, only I. Sometime I will have to give an account of myself. How would the Father in Heaven judge me if I followed others and not Him?

Here was a man, laughed at by many in his time and still today, a timid, obscure, odd, awkward, simple, unassuming, yet devout man. But from his pen so many have been uplifted, set at peace, enthralled, gob-smacked, wowed. In his music we find sheer beauty, lasting reality.

His music: when I listen to lesser composers; Mozart, Haydn, and such like, I hear music for the sake of music. When I listen to the later works of Bruckner I do not so much hear the music but am immersed in the atmosphere it creates. The music is still there, of course, and expertly arranged, but it is no longer the sole purpose but only a means to an end. I am so glad that he was dogged enough not to "write in a different way".  Like: but men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

I once heard a visiting preacher pooh-pooh a man in his home congregation who associated the uplifting found in music with experience of God. First it grated on me that he should shun a brother publically. Second, I am not at all sure that he was right. The purpose of Christian praise is to lift the participators into a recognition of the greatness of God. Like a telescope makes a distant object appear larger and brighter but does not actually change the object. Could not performing appropriate absolute music just as well be praise? I imagine there were no words When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.  Sometimes words are cheap and inadequate but music can be sublime.

This post has taken several weeks to write and I am still unsure whether I have made my point clearly enough. The lie I think I have lived is not some objective "God is dead" but is inside me. It feels as though I am finally waking up and my former life has been but a dream. I wake and grope around in the semi-darkness and wonder: where am I, who am I, what am I doing here? Movies have used this idea and gradually little clues suggest a previous existance. Yes, I was alive back then, but I didn't understand, and I am not sure I understand any better now.

When I look at heaven
And the works of Your hands
How is it Father
You are mindful of man?

Your loving kindness
Simply amazes me
Simply amazes me

When I look at Jesus
And the marks on His hands
How is it Father
You are mindful of man?

A note on faith
Abraham, we are told, was the father of faith. He believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness. But his faith also led him to do some dumb things like the conception and disposal of Ishmael (though God blessed him). Based on this I suppose that when we act on what we genuinely but mistakenly think is a word from God, it is sort of divinely overlooked or at least side stepped - because it was, after all, an act of faith on our part. This idea is similar to the case of Emeth.


Journey's End

I watched Journey's End on Netflix the other evening. For those of you who have not seen it, one review summarises: Led by young officer Stanhope, whose mental health is rapidly disintegrating, a group of British soldiers await their fate in an Aisne dugout during the end of World War I. It is grueling but worthwhile if the aim is, as was mine, to experience in some small way what atrocities people had to endure to guarantee the freedom we now enjoy. And, besides, it stars Asa Butterfield whose performance I so appreciated in Hugo.

Lest we forget.


Long Dublin run

Whilst Sarah and the kids did Imaginosity, I took off to the sea, barefoot of course. It occurred to me on the way back, cold, wet, hungry and worn out, that I might have used my newly acquired free-travel card and investigated the green Luas tram line.

My track: 11.7 miles, average speed moving 6.34 mph

I took the shortest route to the sea which took me to Blackrock, then followed the coast to Dún Laoghaire where I ran to the end of the western harbour sea-wall. My pictures are proof of my madness, in case anyone doubts.

Dún Laoghaire ahead: here I met a man who had just braved the waves

The sea-wall and harbour

from the end of the sea-wall


A little of what you fancy

Here's a definition: Anything that makes you feel good is sensual. Like, a massage, eating chocolate, having a bath or shower, tickling, kissing and hugging, sliding your fingers on your arms and neck, etc. It could also be a nice setting or eating tasty food and drink.

Christians can be kill joys - here's a site that appears to rule out anything that is pleasurable, quoting  Ephesians They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity and concludes that we must be willing to die to our old nature, which includes sensuality.  And yet I find Christians who enjoy good food, or a glass of wine, who go to concerts one supposes because they enjoy the music, and so on.

Ah, I hear you say, it is over-indulgence that is wrong - God means us to enjoy life. Which I agree with, but it begs the question of when is indulgence "over"?  At the end of the day I suppose each of us has to answer that question for themselves. We know Jesus came eating and drinking, and they said of him, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. I find it hard to believe that he did not enjoy the good food he was presented with when feasting with, for example, Simon the pharisee. Although the story makes it clear that this was not his focus.

In his diary Adrian Plass writes: Found Aunt Marjorie looking through the TV magazines in the sitting room. After we had exchanged the customary kiss in which not even the tiniest part of my face touches the tiniest part of hers, she said, ‘I am encircling with black ink, those programmes that are unsuitable and which we shall not be watching during the Christmas period!’  Uncle Ralph arrives a day later and observes Heh! Good biz! Someone's gone through and marked off all the best progs! Is Adrian advocating a middle way?

The apostle Paul said ...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. One gets the impression that he did not particularly seek either extreme, but was able to enjoy the plenty when it came his way. Which is a principle I sort of live by, even if I sometimes explicitly seek pleasure like buying a bar of chocolate or watching a movie or listening to a symphony.  Daft, get real, I hear some of you saying. But you cannot be both serious about following Christ and at the same time pay no attention to what you allow yourself to do or not do. This little boy says it all...

(video posted by Amity Diebold)


Will I ever run as far as to church mountain again?

A friend, a few years older than me, sitting across the room has just returned from the US visiting her granddaughter. In telling us about the visit she observes that this was probably the last time she would make such a trip.

Growing older is insidious. I don't like to admit that I am growing older, and certainly not that I am growing old, but every so often I catch myself thinking I might never do or go to such and such again. Or thinking that there is no point upgrading certain equipment or software because what I have will last me through. So I kind of plateau or worse still start going downhill. There is of course some truth in this position, but the negative implications get me in the belly - that gnawing feeling that not all is well. Taken further I think they'd call it depression but I'll not give in that easily.

But, honestly, why upgrade my CAD software when that which I have does all (or at least most) of what I need? And in any case I am gradually retiring my design business. Or why learn the latest programming languages when what I have used till now does what I want and, may I say, often does it more slickly that the new fangled stuff. Threads and generator functions indeed. When tackling a longer than usual run I wonder if it will be the last time I will run that far.  Mind you, I have no intention of giving up trying.

We watch Meg (she's the dog, now way past my age in dog years). She has rheumatism in her back legs, has suffered mini-strokes so holds her head on one side, is almost totally deaf, and is far less sociable than she used to me. One day she will die. And that will be that. Till then we feed her, try to make her life livable (she doesn't complain - dogs don't).  I wonder what I'll be like at that age? Or what it will feel like, same old me but in a crustier and less forgiving outward shell. I don't know and I confess I am a little apprehensive - not so much of death but not at all liking pain or inconvenience.

Short term memory loss is another getting-older thing. I go to the loo, flush it, wash my hands and then wonder - did I flush the loo? One learns to manage this by having only certain places that one is allowed to leave things like shoes, wallet, gloves and the like. But it is still endemic and a nuisance. And the management schemes are very well until one's customary ways are interrupted.

On the other hand I am glad to be alive. I am very thankful that I discovered barefoot running and am (still) able to go interesting places on my own and totally under my own steam and with no help from Adidas or whoever thank you very much. I don't have to pay subscription fees for my exercise and the world is my gym. Although I admit to buying foot moisturising cream. And I am so thankful that I still find enjoyment in seeing beauty, hearing music, tasting fish pie... even if my senses are dulled.


What it means to be a boy

Cover picture by Hengki Koentjoro

I was given a new book - a birthday present from MYD - and couldn't put it down. A beautifully written though somewhat strange story a bit like although less substantial than Kafka on the Shore. The author pulls images from all manner of and random sources and mixes them all together into the mind of a seven year old boy, recounted when he is middle aged and his memory has become sketchy. And then, last evening we watched the new Netflix Mowgli. One cannot help comparing it with Favreau's Jungle Book or to Kipling's original stories but we enjoyed it none the less. The common theme is what it means to be a boy. I too have largely forgotten that richest part of my life story but small episodes come to my remembrance every so often - like watching the world go by perched on a dangerously rusty corrugated iron roof in blatant defiance of the Adults, or tinkering with ancient radio sets in my workshop in the Top Garden and the joy of finding that my recently constructed oscilloscope actually worked, or loitering in Drove Lane praying fervently that one or other of my boyhood would-be sweethearts would actually like me too. Nothing like as exciting as Mowgli.


Bartolome Esteban Murillo barefoot

Yesterday was Bartolome Esteban Murillo's 400'th birthday, so says Google - liking the image in the Doodle I checked up on the man and found a wealth of beauty in his pictures particularly of children, and also an intimate knowledge of bare feet.

A peasant boy leaning on a sill

Adoración de los pastores

Now take a closer look at those feet. The dirt, the calluses, the cracks - I know them well - they could easily have been my feet!  I'd like to know what he used as balm to heal those cracks?

Amazing detail in these feet

The young beggar

Look at the detail in the clothes

Check out those feet again!

La gallega de la moneda - another beauty

The picture in the Google Doodle


Convention 2018

Gospel songs today have a lot to say
They lift you up when you're feeling down
Some have a country flavor, some have a modern sound
They all serve the need of planting seeds, so I guess they can't go wrong
But there's none so dear as when I hear an old convention song.

We host an annual convention. In days of yore we peaked to 150 attendees but now-a-days it's us plus maybe 20 or 30 visitors, half of which will be regulars year after year. Why? Partly because that's what we do, rather in the vein of the Cathedrals song. It's a bean feast. It's meet old friends. But it is also meant to be a time for hearing "what God is saying" which roughly translates to enduring multiple hour long sermons. For me, some of these talks have worthwhile content, whilst in others frankly I loose the plot - I come away not having any clue as to the point they were trying to make. 10/10 for effort; not much in the way of results. Maybe that's just me - I'm just a bad listener.

This year I have chosen to do morning boiler duty. Our boiler is the mighty wood burning Turboburn TB4. To meet the morning heating and hot-water load it requires a full load lit as early as possible, topped up as necessary to raise the water jacket to as close to boiling point as is feasible. So, during convention, I light the boiler at around 6 a.m. then go for my constitutional run after which I check the burn and add more fuel as necessary. I like this time in the morning. I do not need to act, listen, talk, and it is quiet which suits my damaged hearing. Whereas convention mealtime is painful. Being sociable, engaging in small talk, is not my scene. And the noise level...

In between meetings and mealtimes and socialising and chores and sleeping I managed to snap a few pictures and here are the best...

A picture in our hall caught in sunlight relief
Valleymount bridge


My lake shore

Remnants of Autumn


Remnants of Autumn

Yesterday the weather was permitting so I ran round the lake shore, Kings River end of the lake. The lake is starting to fill but it was still possible to ford the river. Another foot or two and it would need to be swum and the water is getting a bit too cold for that. In spite of the cold water, the sun was warm enough for a brief sun-bathe on the sand bar just before the river enters the lake and where it is safe to ford (no rocks underfoot). Sadly I figure this might be my last circuit of that end of the lake this season.

This morning the sky was almost completely blue and my heart urged me to make one last encounter with Autumn which seems to have been rather brief this year. But we had a meeting (it being Sunday) and by the time it was over, lunch had been lunched and washed up, and a few other minor tasks, it had clouded over. Wunderground was still maintaining that rain was possible but unlikely so I set of intending to do Church Mountain. But within minutes it started to rain and it continued for most of my run which I swiftly curtailed to just the lake perimeter (Kings River end) by road.

Ominous weather over Valleymount, from Blackditches

Suggestion of rainbow over Ballyknockan

Atmospherics over the lake, from our bridge


Aunty Elsie

Stock photo of Crantock beach, Pentire head beyond the Gannel

Aunty Elsie lived in Crantock and this alone was sufficient qualification.  But she also had a small shop in which was, oh joy, a loom and a spinning wheel and she actually spun and dyed her own wool and wove it into cloth to make garments and such like. And she fed us (cream teas?) and walked us to the beach, explained the dangers of the River Gannel. And she actually liked us children!
What more could we want of an aunt? And yet she was actually only a friend of our Nana and thus not our aunt at all.

Using a treadle fret saw (which I now have) like the one above my father used to cut out plywood handles to complete the hand woven shopping bags Elsie sold in her shop.

In this photo she is garbed in orange on the steps in her front garden holding my baby sister Heather, my mother on her left, Margaret on her right.

Here we are on Crantock beach, Elsie on the left. No Heather so perhaps this photo predates her. I think the dog is Chum. I am of course at my favourite occupation.

Forever Newquay and Crantock will remain dear in my memories on account of Aunty Elsie and all she stood for. I will never forget how dangerous the Gannel is. Forever I will long to return to Cornwall, a place worthy of dreams, a place of idyllic happiness, contentment, of clotted cream and scones, ice cream locally made with clotted cream and in a zillion different flavours, real Cornish pasties freshly baked from Rock, long sandy beaches, rock pools...

To add to the magic of the place there was also the mystery behind a carving on a low-tide cave which my sister remembers visiting but I do not - perhaps it was considered too dangerous at the tender age I was back then?

Mar not my face but let me be,
Secure in this lone cavern by the sea,
Let the wild waves around me roar,
Kissing my lips for evermore.

I am hoping my sister(s) will contribute to this page to fill in any blanks in my memory...


Low lake again

Some more pictures taken on two lakeside runs.  Some of this under-foot is hard going when no shoes are allowed.


Tree roots like crabs

Ancient ruins exposed

Blessington Greenway

Evening lake

They say this tree will fall and block the road

Course of the Valleymount road before the Flood

Same, looking the other way

Ancient tracks, dykes or ditches