Gems from the past

Thursday, 9 June 2011

| | | 7 drops in the ocean
Sorting through an old pile of notebooks and various other items of junk at the bottom of my drawer today, I came across one and flicked through it.

Reading through my toddler-age scribblings, I came across this (and of course had to share it with you)...

Written in my scrawliest writing:

"at 1 akloc ther is news lunch"

then below, in bold, carefully placed letters:


Story of my life...

Well, at least the two most important words were spelled right.

Watch this space...

| | | 7 drops in the ocean
For a most interesting discussion between me and a surprise guest blogger, on life, the universe and everything...    Coming to a blog near you.    :)

Meantime, here's an interesting photo.  Prize for guessing what it is in the picture...

... and I'll reveal the answer next week... (prize could be a guest post, if you like...suggestions welcome...)

I think it looks like part of a dalek, but that's a matter of opinion...

Strange noises

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

| | | 5 drops in the ocean
In the corner of my bedroom is a Noise.
An incessant ticking.

I hear it, in the corner.
The noise won't stop.
Tick tick tock.
I wish it would.
It is driving me up the wall.

I move.
It stops.

I stop.
It starts again.

I'm told it's expansion.
(it's not the clock)
But if it is
then why does it stop
when I tap on the wall?
It seems to be coming from there...

I wonder what it is...
(or am I going crazy?)

Note to Readers:  I have added an email address to my profile so that you can contact me if you wish.  Also, if anyone has a clue as to what the mysterious ticking in my wall might be, I would be interested!

A labour of love

Monday, 6 June 2011

| | | 4 drops in the ocean
Today I was helping to move some furniture, (some of which will eventually be mine, yay!) from a house down the road to ours.  As we were shifting pieces into our porch, the owners of the other house commented that our house was a real 'labour of love'.  When my parents first acquired our old Victorian place, it was in a sorry state.  There was dry rot everywhere, and bits had to be rebuilt and given a bit of loving care and attention before they were back to their former glory or completely refurbished.

Naturally that got me thinking about the things I have put a 'labour of love' into.  Since I started this blog, I have come to realise just how much I enjoy writing, and the satisfaction I gain from it, so in a sense this has become a labour of love.  Likewise, when I do a painting, or play an instrument, it is a labour of love; I put my heart and soul into it.

As I think about these things, I can't help but think we are a real labour of love too.  If we gain so much satisfaction from our creativity, how much more satisfaction and enjoyment must God have got out of creating us?  We are so beautifully well engineered and put together.  As psalm 139 puts it:

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."

I don't know about you, but I love those few verses.  One can hardly imagine the labour of love that went into creating us and the planet we live on.  And how much satisfaction must He get from watching His creations create?  I can only imagine.

Not only that, but the labour of love that goes into restoring us, when we have become infested with 'dry rot'.  When we become blind and deaf to God's infinite love.  He cares so much that He has provided a way for us to be restored from our sorry state.  Made new.  Cleaned up, given a fresh lick of paint (well, maybe not, but you get the picture) and lovingly restored to something more like what we were always meant to be.  That's a pretty awesome thought.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God offers to lovingly restore us to our former state of close friendship with Him if only we will let him.  He has so much more in store for us!

If you wish to go into more depth on Christianity and God's labour of love, then here is probably a good place to start.

What do you put a labour of love into?

Talk of the hive

Friday, 3 June 2011

| | | 5 drops in the ocean
It is a bright sunny afternoon.  Mum has announced that the bees need checking on, and I jump at the chance.  I find those creatures fascinating; the way they dance and wiggle when they find a new source of food, the way they carry huge baskets-full of pollen in their leg-sacks back to the hive, the way they fan their wings to say that the queen is in, the way they all work together, like an engine made up of a million small parts.  I am truly in love with them.

So I don my dad's white bee suit, bee-proof trousers and wellies and head out into the sunshine, where mum is already setting up the smoker, and getting bits of hive together.  We check each other to make sure we are totally bee-proof, then head over to the little village of white boxes, where the bees, having been cooped up in the wind and rain for a fortnight, are dashing to and fro, excitedly gathering supplies while they can.

The first colony is small, but strong.  Mum runs through each frame, carefully checking it for the expected patterns of brood, pollen and supplies.  I stand by, smoker at the ready, observing carefully, learning.  And as expected, everything is as it should be.

It is at that moment, mum engrossed in the middle of a set of frames, that we hear the Noise.  Uh-oh, trouble.  Mum looks at me, I look at her.

"Follow that swarm!"

"Righto"  I say cheerfully, trundling off in the general direction of the line of bees, now heading in a determined fashion towards the nearest spruce tree.  After some deliberation, they clearly decide spruce is not the word of the day, and settle instead for a small neighbouring bush.  With a sigh of relief that they have not decided to make home twenty feet up the spruce tree, I stand watch over them, in case they decide they really do want to be twenty feet up a spruce tree after all, and move off again.

Mum finishes reassembling the hive, and fetches the customary cardboard box, with 'quality wines, this way up' printed on the side, and some spare board.  We wait.

Half an hour later and the swarm has arranged itself in an ungainly clump around the middle branches of the bush.  We place the piece of board carefully below the buzzing mass.  Mum poises with the cardboard box.  The moment of truth has come.  Get it wrong, and, well, goodbye swarm, it was nice meeting you.  We both hope that when we shake the branch, the swarm will plop neatly into the box, complete with queen.  All that follows, then, is for the box to be placed upside-down on the board, with a space underneath, so that stragglers can follow the scent of the queen in to safety.  In theory.  Mum trims the extra foliage from underneath the swarm.  Here goes... Mum gives the bush a sharp shake.  With a large and slightly irritated buzzing (well, how would you like to settle in after a long day, only to be disturbed again?) the cloud of little black things drop (mostly) into the box.  Rapidly it is turned upside down and propped up with a brick.  For the next few minutes we watch, anxiously, as the (by now slightly confused and disorientated) bees make their way into the box, passing on directions via their feelers and little dances.

Satisfied with our handiwork, we continue with our inspection of the hives.  The next hive we check, comprising mostly of the native black bee, a docile lot, give us no bother at all, and in fact the rest of the inspection passes without mishap.

Without mishap, that is, except for the the quiet buzzing being punctuated by dozy drones bombarding my hat at regular intervals, and the occasional check to see that the swarm is still there.  We move on, from hive to hive; a fuzzy grey newly hatched worker bee here, a bee laden with pollen from the nearby buttercups there. It appears that none of them has lost any of its population... which can only mean one thing - someone else has - and probably won't be too pleased about it when they find out...!

At last it is time to re-hive our swarm.  We listen at the edges of the box, looking for a sign that they are still there.  Alas, over the noise of the few bees milling at the entrance, we hear nothing.  Have they gone?  Mum gingerly picks the box up, commenting on it's lightness. We take it over to it's newly prepared home.  Whilst mum holds the box, I bend down and peek underneath the edge. Oh yes, they're still there, alright.  One throbbing rugby-ball size mass of bees.  Hive prepared, mum shakes the swarm down into the hive, through the frames and into the eek space below.  And then wham!  They are up and erupting out through the top of the frames like some kind of mini volcano.  I struggle to fit the crown-board and lid back on hastily, without incurring too many casualties.

We stand by a while, watching the bees make their way slowly but surely back into their new home, and smile at a job well done.  An almost textbook operation.  Now all that is required is one large cup of tea, and some of those amazing looking home-made biscuits.


Thursday, 2 June 2011

| | | 2 drops in the ocean
Hello folks.

At the moment I am attempting to give my blog a slightly more stylish/personalised look, but not being particularly proficient at that kind of thing, I am encountering a few technical glitches!  So for the time being it is back to the original one.

So bear with me...!

There should be a few more posts on their way shortly...

Hope you are having a glitch-free week.

RJ  :)

PS   I am torn between these designs for my blog:

Please vote on which one you think I should use below.  Thanks!

PPS  Apologies as I'm unable to comment at the moment...