Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Annual Grump

It has started – the annual grump of those church people who hate Mothering Sunday. I have a certain grudging sympathy with those who dislike the commercialised aspects of the day – I know that some of them will grump in the same way over Christmas, and that all of us will grump over the joyful pagan celebration of Good Friday (Easter eggs scoffed in the supermarket car park while we are fasting). I appreciate many congregations do not want to derail the flow of the lectionary with the one-off Mothering Sunday readings.

No, what gets me is the ‘I had a bad experience as a child and mother and now you will not celebrate’ grump. Because we are all excluded from something. I’m sorry for those who had a bad experience as child and mother, or virtually no experience as both. Really sorry.

My marriage was pretty much a disaster, more especially as its ending seemed to me to retrospectively destroy what had seemed the joyful times of the early days of the relationship. I did not get to take any happy memories away from it. I don’t expect ever to have another romantic relationship that goes further than a shared coffee. Anything to do with weddings and marriage reawakens pain.

But I don’t expect Christian marriage to stop, I don’t WANT it to stop, or Valentine’s Day, just because I think of them with sorrow and guilt.

Please – be glad for me that being a daughter to a beloved mother, and a mother to beloved children made me happy and fulfilled, and that my daughters, too, rejoice in motherhood.


Spring 17

As so often happens, the first really warm day follows on the equinox. Oh joy, six months of light! And there are daffs everywhere now.


To you, these are just some more of the miniature daffodil, tete-a-tete which is bursting out all over in Ayrshire just now. to me they are a rescue. Two years ago a lady from whom I worked wanted the spent flowers and bulbs binned. with permission I took them home. And now, see!

Spring 15

So today it was the exceptional hunger of the birds which caught my attention.

The past two springs, the only birds here in the winter have been a couple of blackbirds, the owls, a couple of dunnock, the resident sparrows and the crows. This winter, instead of trying to tempt them near the house to feed, I have been putting food at the top of the hedge, round the corner. The result has been a spectacular number of coal tits, and great tits and the odd blue tit, and chaffinches. They are always a hungry lot, but today were ravenous. I take it that the raised wind chill factor has coincided with nest building and the bodies gearing up for egg laying.

Spring 14

Brrr – waking up to hard frost and a very chilly old day it was. But a delight – a pair of birds have started building in my nesting box. What kind of birds? you ask. Reader, small birds. I caught a glimpse of them when too far away to identify, and by the time I had my monocular in hand, they had flitted off. They have now done this three times. So I am sure they are building, and still have failed to identify them. But it is very exciting.

Spring 13

Ah, one of the most delightful of summer visitors has arrived – the pied wagtails are back, fishing for insects in the pond, and nest-building, and singing beautifully.

Spring 12

I return to find the most extraordinary conditions. Snow underfoot, a beautiful warm day, and pussywillow against a blazing blue sky.

Spring 11

Just as I was leaving for Newcastle on Sunday morning I heard it – the joyful liquid bubble of a curlew, returned to breed.

Then I got to my friend’s induction into the most lovely Arts and Crafts church in Bencham. Then I lost a day of spring to norovirus. Normal service resumes tomorrow.

Spring 10

A morning of bitter cold, snow followed by torrential rain only just warm enough to avoid being snow or hail, and then a gradual clearing in the afternoon, and a slight rise in temperature. And at night, more frogs calling in the pond, and this morning, more spawn.

Spring 9

She lifted off the moment I rounded the corner. I don’t know if she had had her fill, but she had at least waited until much of the spawn was laid. A cool grey heron, frogging.