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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

On Saturday afternoons I head to the Secret Field with the Vicarage Hound. There we meet up with an enthusiastic retired greyhound for a run about. The Vicarage Hound is rather put out that the greyhound is faster than him, but is always excited to meet up. On the way to the field today, there were some signs of Spring.

Some gentle Spring emerging

There was a steady drizzle as we waved to each other across the field and the dogs sniffed about and occasionally legged it. Another couple of dogs were paying a visit, a busy Westie and a nervous whippet, who thought that both the big sight hounds were too scary to chase, even though I’m pretty sure she’d have given them a good run for their money. The Westie definitely made a valiant attempt to show the big boys how to play enthusiastically though.

Springy dogs and Spring flowers. And definitely Spring weather – there was an odour of wet dog for quite a while once we ended up back at the Vicarage.

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So I thought I’d get ahead with my plan to blog through Lent, and get some creativity practice in before Ash Wednesday. This is despite Facebook’s determination to keep me blocked, which means that if you follow my page there, you’ll not get updates when I write something new and exciting here. In the hope of getting this controversial and dangerous blog allowed on Facebook, I continue to lobby random FB executives whose Twitter accounts I can find.

There are small signs of Spring in the parish. This morning’s venture out with Song and the Vicarage Hound was warmer than it has been for quite a while. And the varigated blues of the sky matched the colours of the flats in a pleasing fashion.

It’s been a long lockdown, this third one, and I don’t think that I have been making the best of it, although I have made some good progress on another crochet blanket and several new recipes have been attempted. If I’ve not recommended Rukmini Iyer’s Roasting Tin books yet, do look them up now. I am a big fan of shoving stuff in a tin and then in the oven. I was going to share some recent faves but they are so distressingly middle class that I can’t quite face doing it. Great recipes though, and not all of them involve quinoa (and none of the ones I use – not a fan).

Lent begins the day after tomorrow and I have a book to read. My devotional life has not been the best with the recent lockdown-toothache combo that I’ve been navigating. So a shiny new book of prewritten prayers should be just the thing. It’s Tim Chester’s latest, An Ocean of Grace, and I’m looking forward to working through that alongside video devotions on our church YouTube channel. We kick off with a modern version of the Commination (with no ashing required) on Wednesday evening – in church and on Zoom together, hoping that the tech can be negotiated effectively.

I was thinking today about the strange Anglican naming of the three Sundays before Lent (now prosaically called Sundays before Lent). They are Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima. Quinquagesima is fifty days before Easter Day, if you fudge the counting a bit (by including some extra Sundays), and then the numbering really goes to pot because you can’t even fudge it to make Sexagesima and Septuagesima count as sixty and seventy days before Easter. Church of England maths makes as much sense as the rest of what we do as a denomination, I guess.

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Everyone’s worlds have shrunk in the last few weeks as we try to stay home as much as possible. But even in this small world we are finding new things. And enjoying old things in new ways. Finding new rhythms to life.

The arrival of Spring helps, I guess, seeing changes in the buds each day down at the park in our new rhythm of afternoon Vicarage Hound frisbee sessions in the Secret Field. There is new growth to spot each day on the ash buds and the brambles are sprouting fresh leaves.

And in a small world, new things give more pleasure than they used to – the delivery of an online shop with new food to eat, the newly tidy back yard, a new opportunity to have a (properly socially distanced, of course) word in passing with neighbours or other dog walkers, the impending arrival of the Queen back from her student accommodation tomorrow – we couldn’t go before as we were in self isolation. So the Vicarage is going to be rather fuller and our new rhythms (and diet, with a Vegan in the house) will be changing again.

And, of course, when I think about new things, I remember that God’s mercy is new every morning, even in our small world here in the Vicarage. The best new thing.

[Text on picture of blue sky, trees, green grass, dog] The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

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This is a fabulously fresh, easy and tasty recipe. It uses ingredients I nearly always have in, so is great if extra mouths need feeding, or if I’m not feeling up to fancy cuisine. A perennial Vicarage favourite, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Ingredients

  • Potatoes – 2-3 medium per fairly hungry person, peeled (if not new) and chopped into large chunks
  • Greens – cabbage (white, sweetheart or Savoy) or Spring greens are fine – finely sliced – a good handful per person
  • Bacon (2-3 rashers per person – I normally use smoked streaky), or leftover gammon, chopped
  • 1 lemon (for up to 4 people)
  • Olive oil

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, then add the shredded greens for 3-4 minutes in with the potatoes. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon in its own fat or gammon in some olive oil.

Once the potatoes and cabbage are cooked, drain & place in a serving dish and pour over bacon or gammon in its oil. Add the finely grated rind & juice of your lemon and perhaps some extra-virgin olive oil, and lots of black pepper. Serve immediately. Help yourself to seconds.

Lemony Greens

 

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Whilst I was away on a fab conference last week, the weather went all spring-like. This is normally an indicator of sprouting snow drops and daffs, of nesting birds and budding trees. But here in the Vicarage, Spring is heralded by the chirupping of the front door bell. Especially on Saturdays.

When I answer the door, I am confronted by two, three or even four hopeful looking little faces:

Can we come and play?

And so I’m dusting off the garden rules (no one in the garden if they’ve not said ‘hello’ to me, only one bouncer on the trampoline at a time, your mum must know that you’re at the Vicarage etc) and counting heads and enjoying (usually) happy squealing. And that’s it for the next eight months or so, with brief intermissions for bad weather. Now, where are my gardening gloves?

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