St Andrew's Day
I can remember having a school holiday for St Andrew when I was a child; it turns out that our local schools were off today, though not for the teachers: they were doing INSET. I was certainly more aware than ever of St Andrew today, with the FM making her speech to the SNP conference and saltires all over social media.
Saltires, yes - but also icons. Partly this is because of the company I keep - not the blessed company of the saints, but of people in the Episcopal Church who have a fondness for icons. My own icon of St Andrew, in the lower left corner above, came to me as the result of a commission 18 months ago when I fell in love with the photo of a much larger version that had been created for a church in the States. I shall never forget that I first saw it when I was in St Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg, when the artist sent me a progress report. I took this morning's photo before I rushed out into the calm damp morning for a fasting blood test; by the time I emerged a biting northerly wind had arrived and I was glad to scurry back up the hill for breakfast.
After that came Pilates, now with the sun streaming into the studio as we strained to hold interesting positions; the weight of one's own body is quite a thing, really. Home for coffee, then out again to collect not one box of Advent candles but three: they had all arrived at the sacristan's house at once, the day after they were required. So while Himself practised on the organ, I replaced the candles in the Advent wreath, now looking much more balanced (top left), and took a photo of the St Andrew window which had the early afternoon sun streaming through it.
Later, we had a fairly fruitless search in the town for sticky labels (to print for Christmas cards; so much for shopping local...) and I bought a ton of bird food (hyperbole alert) so that the short walk along the West Bay felt like an endurance test. A collie dog was playing in the sea, chasing small waves, oblivious to the chill, and the moon rose as we came back along the road home.
I've just watched a most moving item on the 10 o'clock BBC News, about two clergymen tackling the awful problem of food poverty in their city. I was too dozy to take in exactly where in England this was, but I take my hat off to these two men as they struggle with the emotional demands of so many desperate people. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is ...