Jasmine The Greyhond

Greyhound rescue, with a difference…


Thanks to Rev. M for the story….

Responding To Human Plight

The thaw has come and with it the guttering, laden down with ice, is being yanked off the roofs. One valiant monk has been hanging off a ladder chipping away at the ice, with what looks like a climbers ice axe. All in an effort to save the guttering still in place. Still the thaw is on, it is now over a month since we saw grass. However this weather ‘event’ has not come even close to matching The Worst Winter of The (last) Century. That was January and February 1963. I remember seeing swans frozen into the river as I walked to school. A terrible sight and nobody could reach them either.

This compilation of photographs sifted to the surface while dealing with Iain’s books last week. A happy find especially as I was slap in the middle of the area covered by the booklet.
With Ullswater frozen right across on the lower reach, skaters were soon enjoying their sport. One motorist was so confidant of the strength of the
ice that he drove his car on to it near Pooley Bridge. (only in England!)
Getting patients to hospital through the snow was a problem in many places but here it was solved when an R.A.F. mountain rescue team pulled a sledge over several miles of piled high snow to bring a Nenthead lady to Alston Hospital to have her baby.
Postmen were among those who had to face great difficulties in carrying out their daily tasks. Above, Kirkby Stephen postman, Mr. L. Brayshaw, stands beside his van, abandoned earlier on the road from Slip Inn in Brough.

The eighth week saw the relief of the last of the isolated hamlets and villages in North Westmorland. On the Tuesday morning snowploughs broke through to the hamlet of Outhgill, in the Mallerstang valley, which had been cut of for a fortnight. At some points cuttings through the snow were 25 feet deep and snow was piled so high against the houses in the valley that householders had to dig troughs to let light into their upper windows. …the text continues.

What are we to make of all this? Extreme weather is newsworthy. Plight, others plight, news of others plight is our chance to express empathy for those less fortunate. To ‘have a thought’ as I often term what I would understand as offering spiritual merit into situations. The appropriate response to news of plight is to ‘have a thought’, to purposefully stop and literally allow empathy, compassion and love flow. Sadly plight, the news, can become, does become, entertainment….

Ambulatory – Or Not?

Two images remain with me this evening. Images of two people on the bus that carried me from Hexham to Allendale this morning. One of an elderly man, the other of a young man – late teens early twenties perhaps. Do you want let off at road end, or the bus stop? The driver called to the old chap as he lurched up the bus, bent over with but a tenuous relationship with gravity. Nothing about him was inspiring ambulatory confidence. My confidence and probably not his either. Even with two crutches he waved perilously as he proceeded. Road end! cried the elderly gentleman. The bus stopped and he stepped out onto a snow bank! He just stood there waiting for the bus to move. I didn’t look back.

All the while, as we drove onwards, my eye kept on returning to a young man. I had a three quarters view of him as he texted – yes probably texting. He was curled over in a C shape. I could see him in the same shape at his computer. He was the same shape as the elderly gentleman.

It strikes me we are a bit like memory foam. We take a shape be it while sitting, standing, lying down, walking and while moving generally, out of habit. However, unlike memory foam, when we move we forget to change shape in response to the new, and ever changing, circumstances we find ourselves in. Too bad. Goodness knows the consequences that flow from ones mind adopting a shape and then not changing shape in response to ever changing circumstances. Food for thought.

Tomorrow Ayse (Dealings with Pain) will be in hospital having surgery and can use all the good thoughts and best wishes we can muster. So let us muster well! For obvious reasons of respecting privacy the details of her surgery are withheld.

If We Knew Then….


They have a smell all of their own – and a feel and a certain character to them. Ancient dust, brittle paper, long loved volumes. The books, so very very many of them, are all now shelved. I think I qualify as a Bibliophile. Iain said this afternoon during a pause in the action. Oh! and here, grasping a desperately ancient volume, is the very first book I ever bought – I was nine. Canada (Romance of Empire) by Beckles Wilson written around 1900. Here is a sampling from Chapter V: The Founding of Montreal.

Of all the great cities of the world you will not find one that has had so romantic a beginning as Montreal. The stories sent home by the Jesuits had stirred all France, and made the more pious and enterprising spirits more than ever resolved to teach the wicked redskins (ahem!) a lesson in Christianity and plant the fear of God in their hearts. The French said they did not believe in treating the savages (double ahem) of the New World in the cruel way the Spaniards had done in Peru and Mexico; They preferred to win them over to civilised ways by kindness and the force of good example.

There we have it. What can I say? Sorry Canada. If we knew then what we know now, things may well have turned out differently. Hopefully.

When Iain returns to his wife and home in Japan at the end of the month I will come back to the books, and house. If all goes to plan I will manage to carve out about six weeks of rest/renewal/retreat time before flying to…Canada! So my labours of the past week are of mutual benefit.

This post is for Tom in Canada who loves books.

Snow Slowly Going

While snow melts from the roofs….
it still accumulates.
And on the lawn in front of the Hall of Pure Offerings….
the benches are full. (this photo by Maria, & published with pride).

These photographs were taken a few days ago and kindly sent to me via email. The task I am here for has almost been completed. All belongings and furniture have been moved, Iain is settling to his new house, and so it is time for me to climb over the Pennines to Northumberland.

Many thanks to all who have sent their well wishes. This has been an example of how people can pull together and help each other. Well wishers help (a lot) too.