Sunday, April 29, 2018

A golden anniversary

Five years ago today I wrote a post to mark our forty-fifth wedding anniversary and Grandson#2’s eleventh birthday. In the years since then, we have sold our home of over forty years and moved down into the valley, where we are now very happily settled. Today Grandson#2 reaches the advanced age of sixteen, whilst DH and I pinch ourselves to be sure we aren’t dreaming that fifty years really have passed since that wet April Monday in Oxford when the two of us were married.

As soon as I sat down to try to to think of words to sum up those fifty years, I was swamped by so many memories, happy, sad, funny, serious, mundane or truly extraordinary, that I despaired of distilling them into anything shorter than a sizeable book. Instead I turned, as I do increasingly as the years pass, to images, to the photographs which have chronicled the fifty years of our life together, as our children were born, grew up and went out into the world and in their turn found partners and settled down to produce a new generation.

By and large these years have been good ones, for which we are both very grateful. There have been difficulties and sorrows, but they have been balanced by joys and the satisfaction of work and other interests and now by the contentment of our life together in our seventies. My hope is that these snapshots will give you a at least a flavour of what those fifty years have meant to us both.

Fifty years ago today

Young and usually scruffy...

..though we scrubbed up quite well

DS and his very young and inexperienced parents

At the chilly Northumbrian coast with DD and DS

Up in the Welsh hills and still scruffy...

All grown and spruced up 

DS's graduation
Grandmother and grandson

Mother and daughter

A very happy family occasion

Another special, happy day

Grandson#1, who is now at university!

Grandson#2 (16 today) with his great-grandmother

Grandson#3, who is now taller than us both.

Our three beloved grandsons

Ordination as deacon 30 years ago this year

Nearly 9 years later, ordination as priest

Three brothers

Five sisters

Fifty years on we're growing old disgracefully...

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter Dawn

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.

She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
‘They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

Malcolm Guite 

A very blessed Easter to you all

Sonnet from: Sounding the Seasons

Music:   Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)   Marienlieder - Opus. 22 (1859) - VI. Magdalena

Image:  Master Henri, Noli Me Tangere from Livre d'Images de Madame Marie Belgian (Hainault),
               1285-1290. Paris, Biblioth√®que Nationale de France

Friday, March 30, 2018

Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat filius.

In sorrow a mother stood
By the cross and wept
While her son hung there.

Image:  Crucifixion, part of a series depicting the stations of the Cross. Chapel Nosso Senhor dos Passos, Santa Casa de Miseric√≥rdia of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Oil on canvas, 19th century, unknown artist.

Music:  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)   Stabat Mater (1736)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The new year begins

Just grabbing a few moments peace and quiet, while DH takes the rest of the family into the village to see the Christmas lights, to wish you all a very happy New Year. 2017 has been a difficult year for many, yet it is human nature to look forward at the year’s turning and trust that next year things will be different and better.

In that spirit may I wish you and yours health, contentment and peace of body and mind in 2018. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Nadolig Llawen

This is the first Christmas for 11 years that we will spend at home in Wales, so it seems appropriate to wish you all a very happy Christmas in Welsh. As it’s so long since I hosted the family for Christmas instead of being hosted by them, I’d forgotten how much work is involved. That must be why it’s taken me until the morning of Christmas Eve to gather my thoughts sufficiently to write my Christmas blog post. But now the house is quiet, with some visitors out, the younger generation busy with their own affairs, and DH en route, bring his mother to spend Christmas with us.

Searching for music was, as always, intensely pleasurable and also fraught with memories, conjured up by a few notes or bars of this carol or that. The carol I’ve chosen has been one of my favourites ever since I sang it as a first-year undergraduate in 1965, discovering the joys of choral singing as a member of the college chapel choir. The carol setting was still new and not yet well-known and I was young, which may be why it embedded itself in my heart and is still so powerfully evocative. The glorious rendering also dates from that era and it comes to you with my warmest wishes for a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Image:   The Adoration of the Shepherds by Matthias Stom (c. 1600 – 1652)

Carol:    There is no rose
               Words: English traditional, circa 1420
               Music: John Joubert – Opus 14, 1954