Songs of praise


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, in among the Autumn season, with all it’s mellow vibes and vistas, the slow turning of Summer hues edging into Fall’s more glorious gold and amber tinged days.
Blood red & burnt orange berries (so plump and plentiful this year), the rustling leaves, and blustery days,… I get the ‘call’ to go to church.

I hasten to add I’m no longer a Christian nor was I ever a traditional church goer. My upbringing though firmly of Christian tradition was the dissenting kind.
I am pleased that it was!
(But that’s another blog story) to be told when turned back clocks will suddenly make our daylight hours much shorter.

So why or what ‘called’ me to church earlier this Autumn? … I’m not sure. Maybe the memory of the harvest hymn with it reassurance….”all is safely gathered in”. The gathering together of people for other than material needs?

I went to a faith school as a child, and there learned to love many of the things which at home I’d been told I ought abstain from! But I loved Harvest Festival, I loved the old hymns, and songs of praise in daily assembly. And so did my parents when I sang hymns for them at home possibly reasoning that ‘true’ Christians saints could well have written them…”For all the saints…”

Church buildings? …I was a little fearful of them when young especially the gargoyles but not these days, now I embrace the iconography of dark and light, the cherabim, seraphim and gargoyles alike.
I like the musk or myrrh incense, polished wood pews, mosaic stained glass windows and that rather musty smell.

At the start of Autumn I attended church and though none of the old hymns were sung it was lovely to have a live music  trio to play the newer ones. New tunes, a newer dogma for a different era of belief. The sermon was more like a public talk, and the prayers led by a young female member not clergy. I liked the fellowship that happened halfway through the service when everyone circulated and greeted each other, “peace be with you” and shook hands.

I’ve a regular visitor who comes to my home after attending their Sunday morning church service, and we do sometimes lapse into songs of praise or …nursery rhyme after our hastily assembled corner shop lunch offering.

Mr Kipling still does ‘fancies’, and Del Monte, their fruit cocktail, which probably aren’t full of vitamins, or health giving but they seem to aid the snooze factor, because soon after eating we doze off in our respective chairs! We are after all well over a certain age.

And then on waking a sing-song before we bid farewell.

It happened this last Sunday, I’d thought to cancel the visit as I wasn’t too well, but low and behold a dose of “Love divine all love excelling”…and other old hymns, together with an interchange of simple pleasantries with “my good friend”,* perked me up.

A ‘taste’ of former days when sans landline, gadgets & digi devices people popped by, and ‘entertainment’ was spontaneous….often accompanied by corner shop bought fodder. Angel Delight! Anyone remember that? Or Spam…when spam only came in cans with a key! None of your ring pull modernisation..

I love many of the advances we’ve made technically and gastronomically!
…but I hope we can still hang on to enjoying face-to-face times with good friends along the way.


* “my good friend”.My visitor who I’ve known 30+ years  (we were only on “good morning” terms back then, as part of our respective daily commutes) always greets me this way.
Most other friendships don’t need this kind of affirmation, for it’s taken as read, but I still find it pleasant, and one of an earlier era where quaint was welcome.


There’s now a feeling of preparation as shops focus, we’re all aware, on “next month”.

We gradually realise what our own preferred time of year is. Is it Spring? When that winter coat evaporates with the year’s first sunbeam? Perhaps you look forward to Summer, when the sun pays a warm visit that never outstays its welcome. Is it Autumn that finds you out and about, the first time in the year that you’re wearing plenty? Or Winter, when the only advisable thing to do is “keep warm”.

Whatever your own thoughts, I’d like to make the case for why this time of year (Autumn) is something to value.  Indeed, once September passes Autumn days are broad with possibility.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nothing is now ‘urgent’ as the day never wilts. It remains a pleasant “neutral”. I’ve also noticed the significance of the notable and awakening nights, as foxes roam at half past four.

The epoch and change from the stand-still feeling which was heralded effortlessly by July, as Autumn swoops by with speedy activity. Indeed perhaps you’re running for shelter when out in heavy showers, or working to an indoor-itinerary, “busy” is often the word. Of course, It’s certainly true that there are (at the last count) 7 billion Autumns a year.

Then there’s the comfort when feet are in front of the fire, and that television or radio programme which  finally emerges from somewhere in the dales come on. The only thing more relaxing than this, is perhaps watching it in a woolly sweater and holding that cup of flavoured tea as the curtains are closed in time for half-past seven, yet the bus drivers are still making their way.

By A