Change of plan

After a rehearsal with the village orchestra (in which I occasionally play the recorder – treble in this instance) I met a church warden, who also works with the children.  She had no help to make all the Christingles for the service the next day.  Everyone had sent their apologies! It was only mid-morning so I offered to stay along with a dad, his son and a group of older children, who all play in the orchestra.

In previous years the rehearsal and the Christingle-making have taken place at the same time.  This year the orchestra rehearsed at an earlier time.  So it was my first time helping with the Christingles.  The youngsters were spiking soft sweets and grapes onto cocktail sticks.  The adults were preparing the oranges with red sticky tape around the “equator”, a white candle in the top and adding four loaded cocktail sticks to each orange at the “four points of the compass”.  The sticky tape represented the love of God and the blood of Christ.

When the supply of loaded sticks was depleted the adults joined the children doing that task. “Soft sweets” had been donated. These included marshmallows, coke bottles, dolly mixtures and other sweets. They had to be put on the cocktal sticks, three per stick to represent the fruits of the earth and the four seasons. I only impaled one “Golden Bear”.  I decided to stab it in the back!  I commented on it and the children told me where they had stabbed their bears.  One boy had stabbed a bear in the eye, which led to a discussion of an event in British history. One of the girls explained in some detail about the Battle of Hastings and how the Norman archers had been able to shoot King Harold in the eye.

I found a photo (or two) on my phone of the Lego reconstruction of the Battle of Hastings, which I had seen at Rheged in the summer, to show to some of the people.

I stayed and helped with the clearing up, which included washing some plates.

Some time after I arrived home I noticed something red and sticky on my ring finger.

Can you tell what it is from the photo?

Something red and sticky

Something red and sticky

1

Autumn weather

Here in England children have mostly started the new term at school.  Some independent schools begin a few days later.  The term is mostly referred to as the Autumn term, although there are places (some universities, for example) where it is the Michaelmas term and others where it is the Christmas Term, being the term leading up to Christmas.  Michaelmas is the feast day of (the Archangel) St Michael and All Angels, which is September 30th.  Christmas (in case you need reminding) is 25th December and is always in the school holidays here.

In autumn the weather is as unpredictable as in any of the seasons.  It always becomes damper (Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness as the poet, John Keats,wrote) with less sunshine than we expect in summer.  The leaves change from shades of green to yellows, reds and browns and begin to fall to the ground (before the end of August this year).

Sometimes there are gales, which speed the process of trees shedding their foliage.  In October there may be a spell of warm sunny weather, known as an Indian summer.  Although Great Britain is a relatively small country in terms of area, the weather varies considerably from North to South and East to West.  Altitude and the proximity to the sea also have a strong influence on the weather.

One result is the difficulty of selecting suitable clothes.  It may be very chilly on a misty morning, but almost like a summer’s day by lunchtime.  Some mornings may be sunny and calm, then, by midday, a cold wind is blowing.

Sometimes people on Twitter highlight the variation in weather between nearby places.  If it is misty by the coast it may be sunny and warm a few miles inland.

The weather forecast is improving in accuracy, but some areas have a microclimate, which is very difficult to predict.  If there are rainclouds about, a weather app forecasting dry weather may not be completely trustworthy.

I am writing this in advance of publication after going for a walk on a day, which started with mist and has continued with cloud low enough that I walked up into it with a friend.   We felt the temperature drop!  I lost count of how many times I took my light raincoat off and put it back on.  Later in the afternoon the mist dispersed before a sunny evening.

I do not always post photos on this blog, but we found some welcome colour in the form of rugeosa roses in various stages of maturity.  It has been a good year for roses.