Saturday, 18 April 2015

Settle Hustings for General Elections

Which of the above will become out next MP (Skipton and Ripon  Constituency)? 
L to R: Julian Smith (Conservative), Alan Henderson (UKIP), Andy Brown (Green Party), Malcolm Birks (Labour), Jacqueline Bell (Liberal Democrat)



See end for videos on questions of Nature Conservation; Defense; Low Pay-Poverty trap; Introductory talks


Churches Together in Settle and District (CTISAD)  on Fri 17 April again hosted a meeting for people to ask questions for the candidates for our MP for the General election (See 5 years ago here) . the meeting was held at St John's Methodist Church

I made  posters. The first had the word "Hustings" as the headline.. only to discover that the majority of people in the ordinary world of Settle did not know the word "Hustings" .. and a few said it was "American". So I settled on "Meet your next MP".

The Justice and Peace Group of CTISAD helped organise it.  Revd Stephen Normanton (right in the picture above)  chaired the meeting. He is minister at St John's Church Settle, and is also Vice Chair of Churches Together in Settle and District.

He had a stop watch function on his phone which he kept to rigorously and good humouredly which worked well. There were 5 candidates. Each candidate had 90 seconds to give an introduction at the beginning. Then for each question they were allowed either 90 seconds or 60 seconds to answer according to the importance/complexity of the question.

THe questions had been grouped in topics so for each topic ony the first one or two quesitons were asked. The questions were show on the overhead projector and read by the Chairman. After the five candidates had answered, the original proposer was allowed c.20seconds response

This meant we got through a lot of questions.

I did video several of the answers... but have not yet had time to relisten to them, never mind load them.

Sally Waterson, The Secretary of Churches Together in Settle and District
greets one of the candidates - Julian Smith

Our church is next to the Settle Carlisle Line

The church is beginning to fill up. There were eventually over 140 people




It was interesting and we learned a lot.

I wish more of the questions had said "How do you / does your party propose to deal with.....

rather than rather than just "What are your views on.." .. because for many of the social issues brought up all/ or nearly all could express concern.. e.g. about poverty, about housing.

One question asked by Althea (a Mothers Union question) was - what were their opinions on the way children and young people are exposed to adult issues through the press and internet.

(It was interesting that this point came up again at Churches Together Big Breakfast the following morning, when the headmaster of Giggleswick School talked  about his school and pressures on young people - he showed a mobile phone/table and pointed out that young people don't have a private life... and this can in some cases cause mental stress...

And here am I blogging far more than usual.)

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I shall add a little more to this post later.. must do some practical work now.  Thanks for reading

And a big thank you to ALL the candidates for coming and for putting the work into standing for election.




Videos coming shortly

16th April - buds start to swell and Alder Leaf Beetles .. eat alder leaves.

I always say the tree buds start to break on 16th April. --Well the sycamore tree buds - which make up a large percent of the trees around here. (The ash buds start quite a lot later)

True enough. this year on the 15th the trees were almost in winter state and on the 16th there was just a glimmering of green swollen buds.  But on 17th it was obvious they were swelling, and a lot more obvious today - the 18th.
Sycamore buds swelling..  the yellow lite trailer form over 28 years ago is still there..

Although London may have been having a heat wave straight after Easter , and the rest of the world is supposed to have had the warmest first quarter of the year (ever?) , these last few weeks have been cold at Settle, apart from Easter Day and following week, and the sycamore buds are relatively late.
The last two nights have been cold with clear skies and bright stars.  One friend thought she saw the northern lights.

So I write this now because it is so exciting and things happen so quickly.

Here is a picture of some Alder beetles that we saw on the mosses day at Preston (I think by then we were in an outlier of Brockholes Nature reserve.


"They are very hungry beetles -  The Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni)". said Gail. And as we looked at the alder saplings each with a few leaves emerging we could see alder beetles on most of the clumps of new leaves.. more alder beetles than food supply. If there are  warm days ahead, lots more leaves will emerge - but if cold days they will be very hungry beetles.


It amazes me in May how many of the young leaves on trees have many many holes in them caused by caterpillars and other insects eating them.  SO now in the few days as buds burst there must be millions  of parent invertebrates hanging around waiting to lay eggs. then in the next three weeks the young leaves will emerge and get attacked!!
(After that the leaves become tough and horrible for insects to eat)

Alder beetles had apparently become  almost extinct in Britain (no records between 1946 and 2003) but now it is increasing rapidly in north of England

Now is the time to eat hawthorn buds.. and in a few days to make oak leaf wine.

The time to distinguish between different species of Orthotrichum moss whose capsules appear in spring. Suddenly after the dormancy of winter so much is happening. .
Bt that's another blog page.






Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Sunrise -

Two Wheatears on Wall at Winskill Stones Plantlife Reserve.


Easter Sunday started at 5.15 am as I looked out of the door to see a brilliant big white full moon in the clear black sky in the SW. 

By 5.30 the moon was dissolving into the darkness as the mist rolled in.

I went round to Althea's and we went to the Churches Together Early morning -6.30am  service the Millennium Gardens, led by John Diggles.








I love the early morning service, with the birds in the background, and the quietness. We have the whole place to ourselves. . I played "Amazing grace" on my tin whistle before we started, as people were arriving. To recorded music we sang "Light up the Fire" and Easter songs.

Then we had breakfast at the Friends Meeting House. Althea and I returned to her house by 8.30am as she wanted to get ready to go to a Christening/Baptism later that morning.

I realised the mist would be only in the valley. So instead of going home... I went up the hill above Langcliffe



.



What views!  

At the left of Langcliffe Brow I walked  south to try and get at photo of the mist above Settle to say "That's where we were at 6.30cm."

But one bit of mist from above looks pretty much the same as another..

-- so I will say we were below this bit of mist to the right of this solitary ash tree:  
This gives me chance to put in another photo of Klebsormidium - growing on the slightly acid bark (the limestone walls are so basic for it to grow)



Klebsormidium crenualatum on Ash trunk


Perhaps I  could take a photo of the Plantlife Reserve - Winskill Stones and put a picture on Twitter?
So I went along to  Winskill Stones
Two Wheatear. In the distance is Moughton - with a trig point at the summit and Juniper on the pavement.  (and Ingleborough beyond that is now becoming  covered in mist


Solonospora candicans -  a lichen on the wall

Lecanora soralifera on slate/greywacke capstones of wall

Wisnkill Stones looking up towards Pen y Ghent




10.15 and I was back down at St John's Church - where on Easter morning we decorate a cross with Daffodils.



and wear our Easter Bonnets

In the afternoon I invited friends for a walk to the Hoffman Kiln - I wish I had taken photos - On the way we saw butterbur, primroses and willow in flower. And the others took photos of snails and thallose liverworts.

We went to the informal worship service at St Alkelda,s Giggleswick Church.




Modern technology and Easter Bonnet





 Returning home in the Easter Evening Sun.








Thursday, 26 March 2015

Lichens for Beginners Workshop in Horton-in-Ribblesdale Churchyard

All welcome at the Beginners Lichens workshop 28 March: Horton in Ribblesdale. 10am-12.30pm
For details and to book contact  Judith Allinson - Cost: £15 (Children £3.00) - Concessions available.

We will spend a period indoors learning about the structure of lichens, have a cup of tea, and then have a walk around the churchyard. We will use the "Guide to the Top Twenty Lichens in Horton churchyard" prepared by Judith, and participants will keep a copy of the guide. Hand lenses will be provided. Please bring warm clothes at this time of year.



I have just been preparing display boards - and will leave two copies of the trail leaflet for people to come and follow the trail themselves after 28th March

If you would
Your life enrichen,
Then study Lichen
If you prefer
Hikin' and bikin,
Then study Lichen

Both pronunciations are correct - but most people say the latter - liken.


Here's Horton in Ribblesdale churchyard, on a sunny day..

Lichen number 1 is on the porch wall. 

Can you see it here? The bright orange one.
I decided to call it "Limestone orange lichen"
 in the absence of any other English name "
in

Its Latin name is Caloplaca flavescens.
It is a crustose lichen. The edge of the lichen has narrow, pleated lobes
and this feature is referred to as "placodioid". (Click on the picture to see a larger picture

You'll recognise it again at the stile at the east.

These pictures were taken at a similar event at Horton last autumn


Here we are looking at the boundary wall in the north.
You can see we are holding the
"Guide to the Top Twenty lichens of Horton churchyard"
 that I had prepared

Come and see the display and try out the Trail. (28 March - Easter 2015)


There will also be a Lichens for beginners course on 20 June at Ingleton churchyard


See more posts on Lichens  on this website here

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Support the Coffee Morning for the Rainforest Fund - Tue 3 March at Settle

We're holding our "First Tuesday of the Month Charity Coffee Morning" in aid of the Rainforest Fund at St John's Methodist Church, Settle on Tuesday 3rd March. 
At a time 
  • when there are only 5 northern white rhinos left in the whole world
  • The extinction rate of animals is 1000 to 10,1000 the natural rate
  • Forest is being felled and burned to grow palm oil, soya and cattle so that species such as orangutans have nowhere to live
  • Population sizes of wild animals have halved in the last 40 years

Do support it if you live near Settle.

Help us raise £100 to save an acre of endangered habitat

Delicious scones and home made cakes.
Beautiful greetings cards for just £1-50 and £1-00
Friendly welcoming atmosphere

Here's a picture from 2014 when (including sale of cards) we raised £120.





Click to see 2012 Coffee Morning

and 2010 Coffee Morning

and 2009 - See we are animal friendly


And our first one in 2008 -

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Rural Church in Place - Bishop of Worcester, Ripon Cathedral, Craven and Methodist connections


A possibly wild primrose amongst the snowdrops
below Ripon Cathedral

Background note: Settle is in the newly formed Anglican Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, which is divided into five areas. Settle is in the Ripon Area -- map.  Ripon Benthis 45 miles from Settle (38 miles the hilly route). Last week the Ripon Area put the Churches Together in Bentham Climate Change Lent Lunches on the front part of their website, and it also announced the important speakers at St Oswalds, Thornton in Lonsdale during Sundays of Lent at 9.30am.



Bishop John Inge




On the  evening 26  Feb I was at Ripon and I went to the first of the St Wilfred's Lectures at Ripon Cathedral in the  series  "Rural Life and Living: Challenges and Opportunities" It was given  by  Bishop John Inge of Worcester and his talk was entitled "The  Rural  Church  in  Place".   He  has  written  a  book called "A Christian Theology of Place".







My  idea  of "a sense of place" is..
"What rocks is the church built of?
What  flowers/lichens  grow  in  the  churchyard?.  (or in the cracks  in the pavement  if    there  is  no  churchyard)".
"What  are  the buildings/houses/people/dialect  like  surrounding  the  church and are there green hills in the background or skyscrapers?"

Well   it   wasn't   about  that..  But it was about many other topics including  about  people's uprootedness because they keep moving; And that we ought to use our churches for many things.  I will list a few good quotes lower down. You can read the short official report here

In  question time, Rev Ian Greenhalgh, vicar at Austwick and Claham, and Area Dean for the Bowland and Ewcross Deaneries, said how his four churches were kept  open  during  the  daytime. And how people enjoyed visiting the churches and the cemeteries.

My hand shot up.

And  as  the chairman had simultaneously been asking if there were any women who  would  like to ask questions, he gave me the chance to speak, and the microphone was fetched.

"If  you  come to Horton in Ribblesdale Church on the last Saturday of March I am  running  a  lichens workshop there." I said breathlessly. (O why do I talk  so  fast!)  And I brought out and held up my laminated lichens guide to Horton Churchyard... "And  I'm  doing  a  similar  workshop  on 20th June  in Ingleton  Churchyard  - They have  a  beautiful  book about the wildlfowers  of  Ingleton  churchyard.  And I've led a session on mosses at Giggleswick"   Come  out to our churchyards in the west of the diocese ans see our mosses and lichens."

Well people got the gist ..
And  now  I  shall  have  to  make sure there are some spare guides in Horton Church.

We  sang  Happy Birthday to the bishop, as his birthday was quite close and then ate his birthday cake with cups of tea afterwards. I gave him copies of the Biodiversity / Saving Wildlife/ Rainforest Leaflet. I also asked  the Dean if I could put up a few on the table beside the notice board, and he said "Yes"

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Some notes made during the talk:

Scriptures  take  place seriously. "In my father's house there are many
mansions.. I am going to prepare a place for you"

Churches  stand  as  a  witness and can help those who are rootless to
find their place.

Someone  made  a  quote - we can look at a glass or we can see through
it to the world beyond.   Similarly   we   can  look  at  churches or see through them to
"heaven" beyond.

Churches  are expensive to keep - We get less money form the government than  any  other western country to look after our churches. There are 16,000  Anglican  Churches in Britain and 12,000 are listed buildings. 45%  of all listed buildings are places of worship. 925 million pounds are needed for their upkeep over the next 5 years.

Just as Christ's commandments to people are: Love  God  and  Love  your  neighbour,
so  this  should be applied to churches.  Many  churches  are  very  good  at  the first, and organise
services,  and  make  the place pious, but not always very good at the second.

The  churches  should  see  how they could serve the community more. The bishop quoted  one  church that  has  a village shop, several that have food banks.  Stannington  near  Morpeth has an IT centre. There has been a suggestion that churches should supply WIFI. We should think more about adaptation than preservation.

In many villages the church is the only community facility.

--------------------

"Should   we  be  thinking  of sharing churches?" Asked Chairman of the York and Hull Methodist District, Stephen Burgess.



Revd Graham Carter gave the vote of thanks. He is former Chair of the Darlington District and was President of Methodist Conference in 2006. He wondered if we did sometimes fail to show people the glory beyond the church.. He said we should open our churches more to the community and let them come and treat it as their own.




When the Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson, was introducing Bishop John at the beginning, he showed us the newly published "Growing God's Kingdom - a First Response to the Cathedral Consultation"








I liked the aspirations in the "Engaging with the issues and needs of the world."section:
  Developing and implementing a strategy for social justice  Reducing the impact our work has on God’s earth by reducing our carbon footprint.  To be known as a Cathedral that can speak with integrity on rural issues

In the "Promoting our Spiritual and Built Heritage" section there is an aspiration:  Developing the Cathedral as a Centre for Pilgrimage. I wonder if more interst could be given the wildlife around the Cathedral. As people have to come to the Cathedral from 60 miles, and more, away in the Diocese Area, getting to the cathedral is a pilgrimage in itself.  map. Perhaps more could be made of the wonderful walk in Ripon all along the River Skell. And Hurray for the Pilgrimage on Boxing Day to Fountains Abbey



Not so native Cyclamen - but very pretty.
I wonder if they come from Greece or maybe Turkey..




Children feeding t'ducks beside the  River Skell below the Cathedral