The sky this morning just after 10am gave us a real mixture of bright sunshine and dark, threatening clouds over the hills, leading to this shot of the grounds of Holy Trinity Church Dunoon, looking over towards the Rectory. I love the mature trees that surround the buildings, with their variety of shapes - and I love the sheer familiarity of this view, which I've been at home in for almost 46 years now. Every time we're looking for a new Rector, I hope they're going to love it as much as I do - not always a given!
My extra photo is of my Christmas Cake in the first stages of being mixed. (Bother - need to go and take it out of the tin before I go to bed ...). I feel a quiet satisfaction that I've actually stirred it up and baked it on what one might say was the liturgically correct day, even if we no longer say the marvellous collect set for Stir Up Sunday:
"Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
And yes, it should be the pudding I was making, but that's for another day - the cake is more of a thing. I'm sure I've said this before somewhere, but this was my 46th year of making this same recipe; I made it first when I was expecting my #1 son as I'd recently gone on maternity leave and felt I needed to fill the time usefully. Many years later, when that son was awaiting the birth of his first child, I wrote a poem about the ritual:
That dreary day of early dark
I baked a cake – my thirty-fifth –
for Christmas, happy at the thought
of something done and stored away.
And as the warmly scented air
stole through the house, I glanced outside
to where the leaves could just be seen
dancing in the garden’s gloom
as if in hope to see my child,
small and purposeful and quick,
come down the path towards the light
and smile at being grown-up
returning home without my help.
I smiled myself at years compressed
by memory, repeated tasks,
and Christmases which mark the time
to where that child can now be seen
awaiting in his turn a child
approaching in the winter’s dark.